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Van Pelt meets with UIC students on MAP grant, higher ed funding

pvp hied mapSPRINGFIELD — Today, State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) met with students from the University of Illinois-Chicago, who were participating in Illinois Public University Student Lobby Day. Senator Van Pelt and students discussed various higher education funding issues.

Senator Van Pelt, earlier this summer, was one of 37 Senators who voted to pass Senate Bill 2043, appropriating $373 million in general revenue funds for MAP grants. The bill is currently in House Rules Committee.

“MAP grant funding is absolutely essential for students throughout state, who may not be able to fully fund their education,” Senator Van Pelt said. “I have and will continue to support MAP grant funding, as well as other alternatives to assist with funding, such as The American Opportunity Tax Credit and The Lifetime Learning Credit.”

Earlier this year, Senator Van Pelt joined US Congressman Danny K. Davis (D) in encouraging current and future students to look into a variety of tax break options available to ease the financial burden of higher education. Together they launched #TaxBreaks4Students campaign, designed to highlight the programs available to those paying for higher education.

Murphy calls for funding to be released to prevent possible property tax increase, layoffs

murphy proptaxSPRINGFIELD- Nearly $583 million in funding for local governments is being held hostage due to the failure to negotiate a state budget by the legislative leaders and governor. As a result, many local governments are being forced to consider significant cuts or find new ways to generate tax dollars, such as a property tax increase. These funds, already collected by the Motor Fuel Tax, have no impact on the total state budget.

To keep communities from being forced to take these drastic measures, a House panel today voted to release the funding. Former Des Plaines alderman and newly appointed State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines), supports the proposal.

“Our communities should not be forced to raise property taxes or layoff police and firefighters because the leaders in Springfield cannot work together to solve the budget crisis they have created. As a former Des Plaines alderman, I know firsthand how important these funds are to our communities,” said Murphy.

The legislation, House Bill 4305, also releases funding from special state funds to pay prizes for lottery winners and 9-1-1 operators. Similar to the Motor Fuel Tax, the funding has been collected through separate fees and taxes that do not impact the overall state budget.

The proposal will now head to the full House for a vote.

Trotter: A crucial commitment undone

trotter bodycamsCHICAGO – Pensions for hardworking Illinoisans will be put at risk, once again. State Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) released the following statement in response to the comptroller’s announced plan to delay November, and possibly December, payments to pension funds.

“Failing to make our important pension payments is another crucial commitment undone by the governor’s refusal to negotiate in good faith,” Trotter said. “Skipping payments only exacerbates Illinois’ $100 million pension debt and will continue to hurt the hard-working people of this state.”

Holmes: Repeated mistakes will not solve crisis

holmes locgovsSPRINGFIELD — In response to the recent announcement from the comptroller’s office that Illinois will skip its November pension payments, Senator Linda Holmes (D–Aurora) has issued the following statement:

“I am deeply disappointed to see this administration repeat the same mistakes that got us into the budget crisis we are currently in with respect to the State's pensions,” Holmes said. "We cannot ignore our legal obligation to make our full pension payment. We need to resolve the budget impasse. We cannot continue to hold the budget hostage over non-budget items and incur more financial burden on the state down the road. I oppose this measure and I hope Comptroller Munger reconsiders.”

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