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Koehler wants budget impasse to end

koehler-shutdownSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) issued the following statement about the Illinois budget impasse in Springfield:

“I’m disappointed that the governor has been unwilling to come to a compromise on the state budget.

“Soon, people everywhere are going to feel the effects of his decision. Parents are going to have to choose between their jobs and their kids as they lose access to child care. Seniors are going to have to move into nursing homes as programs that help them stay in their homes shut down. People with disabilities aren’t going to understand why their lives are changing as services and programs close.

“I’m ready to do my part to end this impasse. I urge the governor and my Republican colleagues to do the same.”

Koehler voted to support a one-month, bare-bones maintenance budget that would maintain core health and safety programs while negotiations continue. For example, it would fund state police salaries to keep motorists safe and the Community Care Program that provides basic assistance to keep seniors in their homes and out of more costly nursing homes.

“I urge the House and governor to keep basic services in place while we work out our differences. Inflicting pain on Illinois families over an ideological battle is not good government,” Koehler said.

Senator Holmes disappointed about state government shutdown

holmes-shutdown-stmtSPRINGFIELD — State Senator Linda Holmes issued the following statement as Illinois state agencies faced shutdown for lack of a 2016 budget.

“I’m disappointed that Illinoisans will go without the services for which they have paid due to needless arguments over issues unrelated to the state budget,” Holmes said. “I have joined my colleagues in the Senate in presenting a budget to Governor Rauner in the hopes of reaching a compromise.”

“I ask the Governor now to set aside political matters and focus on fiscal matters. Every day he does not, our childcare centers face closure, our seniors face the possibility of having to leave their homes and all taxpayers face disruptions in their daily lives.”

Holmes voted in favor of a one-month provisionary budget that would keep essential state services in operation as lawmakers continue negotiating a full 2016 budget. The measure passed the Illinois Senate but failed in the House.

Senator Melinda Bush issues statement on state shutdown

bush-shutdownSPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Melinda Bush issued the following statement as Illinois state government agencies reached the end of their allotted budget in the absence of a 2016 spending plan.

“We have already seen cooperation to ensure our schools will not be affected by the ongoing fight between Governor Rauner and the General Assembly, and as state agencies and vital state programs are forced to shut down for lack of a complete budget, we need to see common sense and compromise,” Bush said.

“Every day we don’t come to an agreement, the work of the state goes undone, and the needs of Illinoisans go unmet. I ask both sides to do the right thing and not disrupt the lives of our state’s most vulnerable.”

Senator Bush voted for a one-month provisionary budget that would have ensured ongoing services as lawmakers continue to negotiate a full 2016 budget. The measure passed the Illinois Senate but failed in the House.

Packed crowd says “No” to Rauner’s LIHEAP cuts

hunter-liheap-mtgCHICAGO – More than 150 concerned residents packed Antioch Missionary Baptist Church this week to oppose Governor Rauner’s suspension of state contributions to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps seniors and low-income families afford heating and cooling.

State Senators Mattie Hunter and Jacqueline Y. Collins joined Representative Esther Golar, Alderman Toni Foulkes and the Englewood Coalition Ad-Hoc Group to address the need of energy assistance for the state’s most vulnerable residents.

“Illinois isn’t a state that balances its budget on the backs of seniors. Letting thousands of families lose cooling assistance isn’t governing. That’s abandonment,” said Hunter, Majority Caucus Whip.

On July 1, the governor will suspend the state’s supplemental contributions to LIHEAP. Utility payers fund the program with a $0.48 surcharge on their energy bills. Under the governor’s plan, rate payers will continue to contribute to a program that will no longer exist.

A larger, looming problem is that there is no way to pay for LIHEAP without an approved budget. Illinois residents will lose cooling assistance until federal funds in October trickle into the state’s coffers.

Representatives from the Attorney General’s office, Public Utilities Bureau, Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County, AARP, Citizens Utility Board and the Shriver Center for Poverty Law joined lawmakers in explaining the impact of state cuts.

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