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Forby supports budget bill, says more work needs to be done

forby rtwzonesToday, Senator Gary Forby supported legislation ensuring several critical services remain operational and local municipalities get the gas tax money they are owed.

The legislation provides:

  • $45 million to the Department of Revenue so local governments can receive their share of video gaming proceeds
  • $582.5 million to Illinois Department of Transportation for local governments share of motor fuel gas tax revenues
  • $31 million to Illinois Department of Transportation to purchase road salt
  • $165 million for the State’s supplement to Low Income Home energy Assistance Program
  • $77 million for 9-1-1 related costs

“We got a lot of stuff our community needs,” Forby said. “But, we still have students who don’t know if they will receive tuition assistance the state owes them.”

The measure that Senator Forby supported passed along local gas tax money for winter road clearing and funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. The legislation also funds 9-1-1 related costs to ensure residents have a line of communication in cases of emergency.

“Many of the programs we funded today were held hostage by Governor Rauner in return for his anti-worker agenda,” Forby said. “Since winter is here, he decided to release funds for services that are necessary for road clearing and energy bill assistance. The game he’s playing is too easy to see through.”

The measure now advances to the Governor’s desk where he will either sign or veto the measure.

Link supports measure to distribute local funds

link avsurveilSPRINGFIELD – Millions of dollars could soon offer much-needed relief to local officials as they prepare for winter, said State Sen. Terry Link.

Legislation that would free up gas tax money for Lake County communities was approved in the Illinois Senate today. State transportation officials haven’t provided exact numbers on how much these communities are owed, but last year, Waukegan, for example, received more than $2 million in gas tax money. Across Lake County, the total was $23.6 million.

“This measure frees up money that belongs to local communities,” said Link, a Waukegan Democrat who represents much of the northern suburbs. “It makes no sense for it to sit in Springfield while local officials worry about affording winter services their communities need.”

This legislation will also distribute funds for:

•    Support for domestic violence shelters;
•    9-1-1 emergency services;
•    State heating assistance program; and
•    Lottery prize payouts.

Link voted to approve legislation that frees up billions of dollars across the state that is owed to local communities but were held in the lingering budget battle at the Capitol. The legislation will now head to the governor for final approval. While Gov. Bruce Rauner said he supports this proposal, the budget impasse began when he vetoed similar proposals back in June.

Manar votes for county road maintenance funding

manar 120715SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) voted in favor of legislation releasing funding for road and bridge funding to local governments in Macon and Sangamon Counties on Monday.

The money comes from the city, county and township share of the state gas tax. Last year governments in the county received $4.8 million for this share of the funds with a similar funds expected this year.

“Without this money, governments have been unable to perform basic road maintenance and repair, prepare for winter weather and many workers faced layoffs. This funding is vital for the most basic duties of government, and I’m hopeful that progress can continue,” Manar said.

The gas tax funding is typically awarded automatically but vetoes by the governor this summer froze the money in state accounts.

The road funding was part of a $3.1 billion budget package approved by the Senate that also includes money for 911 emergency systems, domestic violence shelters, emergency services training, GED programs and vocational training.

The legislation also provides money for the Illinois Department of Transportation to buy road salt and perform winter highway maintenance.

It includes $165 million for the state’s assistance to seniors and low-income families to help with winter energy and heating costs. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, LIHEAP, is funded through a combination of state and federal dollars. The federal funding has been going to families but the state’s portion has been held up by the budget impasse.

The legislation also gives local governments their share of gaming revenue and allows the Illinois Lottery to pay winners.

The Senate passed this legislation, Senate Bill 2039, with bipartisan support and the bill will next go to the governor for approval.

Bush supports funding for road maintenance, city government

bush 120715Authorization passes Senate, will head to governor

SPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Melinda Bush issued the following statement after voting Yes today on an authorization that will release winter road maintenance funds, gaming revenue and higher education funding to local governments and public universities.

The vast majority of funding in question is either federal pass-through dollars or the local shares of motor fuel and gaming taxes to which municipalities are already entitled.

“After months of calling for budget compromise between legislative leaders, it’s about time we see progress being made,” Bush said.  “Today, we were able to ensure that funds that rightly belong in our universities and local governments are put to use. As lawmakers and as taxpayers, we must accept nothing less.”

Besides releasing motor fuel taxes that help local governments buy road salt and authorizing federal money for state community colleges, the funds would, among other things:
•    reimburse lottery winners who have gone unpaid.
•    ensure Driver Services Facilities continue operation.
•    provide the Attorney General’s Office with funding for victim advocacy and support for domestic violence survivors, among other programs.
•    fund domestic violence shelters, 911 services, breast cancer research and veterans’ homes throughout the state.

Senate Bill 2039 passed the Senate 53-0 after it passed the House with near-unanimous support last week. It awaits Gov. Bruce Rauner’s signature to take effect.

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