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Budget Impasse

  • Sen. Donne Trotter

    CHICAGO – Sen. Donne Trotter is among those who are demanding the governor release state money for completion of a college training center that is expected to prepare students for thousands of transportation-related jobs in the Chicago region.

    Construction on the $45 million Olive-Harvey Transportation Distribution and Logistics Center was halted in 2015 because of the state budget stalemate. Lawmakers included $15 million for the center in the state budget they approved in July. Weeks later, Gov. Bruce Rauner has not released that money.

    “This hold on the TDL Center is hurting the prospect of job growth in an area that desperately needs it,” said Sen. Trotter, a Chicago Democrat and vice chairman of a key Senate budget committee. “It’s time for Gov. Rauner to do what’s right to help train the people of Chicago.”

  • Sen. Scott BennettSPRINGFIELD – Health insurance programs for retired teachers will be cut in the so-called “Capitol Compromise” according to the Illinois Retired Teachers Association. The budget makes a 30 percent cut to the Teachers Retirement Insurance Program, also known as TRIP.

    State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign), who opposes the cuts to the program, issued the following statement:

    “Cutting insurance benefits for retired teachers is not the right way to balance the budget. Not only is it extremely unfair, it is potentially unconstitutional and will just lead to more litigation instead of a long-term solution for fixing our finances.”

  • Sen. Linda HolmesSPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Linda Holmes, D- Aurora, released the following statement after a press conference organized by retired teachers speaking out against cuts to the Teachers’ Retirement Insurance Program (TRIP) included in the House Republicans’ budget plan:

    “The problem with the House GOP’s budget plan is that it takes a prior agreement that teachers have paid for and relied upon throughout their entire working lives and throws it out the window. The Capitol Compromise would cut funding for TRIP by more than 30 percent, forcing retirees on a fixed income who do not receive social security to suddenly pay more for healthcare. The House should hold up the state’s end of the deal by advancing the Senate’s plan, which maintains full funding for TRIP.”

  • Senate President John J. Cullerton

    Responding to questions from WBEZ’s Tony Sarabia this morning, President John J. Cullerton expressed his frustration with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s pledges to veto the balanced budget and reforms the Illinois Senate passed this week. Based on the governor’s proposed spending limits, revenue increases and reform guidelines, the budget Senate Democrats sent to the Illinois House also included $3 billion in cuts.

    “He gave us the budget on Feb. 15 with spending levels and a tax increase request,” Cullerton said. “We gave him exactly what he asked for. We sat down with Republicans and cut $3 billion out of the budget in order to make those two things work and then he told them to vote No.”

    Hear the full interview at WBEZ Radio.

  • manar 042617SPRINGFIELD – The Senate’s balanced budget strikes a sensible balance that offers cuts and reforms while prioritizing what the people of Illinois want the state to deliver after two years of gridlock, said Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill).

    “People want us to prioritize funding for education, for health care and for higher education so that we can repair that system. Our budget does all of this under the umbrella of spending limits that the governor put forward,” said Manar, chairman of one of the Senate’s two budget committees.

    “That’s the result of both leadership and frustration on our part, because we continuously put forth issues that Gov. Rauner claims to value – and in some cases demands – but yet we are stuck with no movement from the executive branch.”

    Manar noted that the Senate listened to Gov. Rauner’s demands for government reforms in exchange for signing a budget. The Senate approved term limits on legislative leaders, procurement reform, school funding reform, workers’ compensation reform and local government consolidation reform – all in conjunction with a balanced budget that cuts $3 billion in government spending.

    “So regardless of what Gov. Rauner is going to do, the Senate is going to continue to lead,” Manar said. “That’s why we did the things that we have done this session that ultimately produced a budget that is balanced and sustainable that will help us put this behind us once and for all.”

    Sen. Manar talks about the budget:

  • Sen. Linda HolmesSPRINGFIELD – An Aurora domestic violence shelter that has suffered through layoffs and service cuts amid the state’s financial crisis, could finally see stable state funding that could restore vital services to abused women under a plan the Illinois Senate recently approved.

    “Mutual Ground and those that they serve have already paid a steep price for inaction and gridlock in Springfield,” said State Sen. Linda Holmes, an Aurora Democrat. “The plan that I voted for would fully fund Mutual Ground, giving them the certainty that they need to serve some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”

  • bennett dv champaignSPRINGFIELD – Courage Connection, the Champaign-based domestic violence shelter devastated by the state’s budget impasse, would be funded under the budget plan passed by the Illinois Senate this week.

    Originally opened in 1971, the shelter is considered to be the first domestic violence shelter in the nation. Since then, the shelter has helped tens of thousands of people find a safe place to stay for the night.

    Courage Connection includes four facilities that provide a safe haven for victims of domestic violence, allowing them to focus on rebuilding their life.

  • trotter 051717SPRINGFIELD – Today, legislation intended to provide financial relief to providers and vendors who do business with the state passed the Senate. Senate Bill 4 enables the state to borrow $7 billion over a seven-year period through General Obligation Restructuring Bonds. The bonds will be put into the General Revenue Fund for costs incurred prior to July 1, 2017. 

    It also allows the Illinois Finance Authority to issue $250 million in State Pension Obligation Acceleration Bonds to help pay down pension debt the state has incurred.

  • biss 051717SPRINGFIELD – Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) issued the following statement regarding Gov. Bruce Rauner’s role in implementing the package of bills considered today by the Illinois Senate:

    “Gov. Rauner expects lawmakers to give him unchecked freedom to overhaul the state’s Medicaid program that insures the poorest Illinois children and senior citizens, but he’s given us absolutely no reason to trust his judgment about what’s best for the people of Illinois.

    “Gov. Rauner has refused to do his job and introduce a balanced budget and instead has claimed in public to support bipartisan Senate negotiations while secretly torpedoing that same work. We have no reason to trust him with carte blanche authority to destroy our safety net and punish the most vulnerable.

    “I am not willing to give Gov. Rauner emergency rulemaking authority to implement Trumpcare in Illinois or cause undocumented children to lose coverage.

    “In the meantime, Gov. Rauner is doing his best to dismantle the Community Care Program that tens of thousands of seniors rely on to live in dignity in their homes, and I cannot support a budget that facilitates his efforts to do just that.

    “Our state urgently needs a budget, and I will continue to do all I can to move us toward a fair budget resolution that adequately funds our priorities. I stand ready to work with anyone toward that goal, and I am prepared to compromise.

    “But I will not accept the premise that we must balance our budget on the backs of senior citizens and the poor.”

  • Senate President John J. Cullerton

    SPRINGFIELD — With time running out on lawmakers’ spring session, Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton attempted to jumpstart bipartisan budget action only to have Governor Rauner and Republicans block progress.

    Cullerton’s efforts come as the General Assembly draws ever closer to a May 31 deadline on a budget and Gov. Bruce Rauner risks entering a third straight budget year with no state budget and a mountain of unpaid bills that recently topped $13 billion.

    Rauner pulled the plug on budget talks last December even as an emergency deal was about to expire. There has been no state spending plan in place since January 1. Senate leaders stepped in to fill the leadership void and began piecing together a sweeping reform and financial plan intended to end the impasse and stabilize the state’s economy.

    Initially, the Senate made great progress.

    Nearly half of the deal — including key provisions for reducing government, opening up economic development opportunities and cutting bureaucratic red tape — won approval at the end of February. But with the rest of the deal positioned for success on March 1, word came down that Rauner was pulling nearly all the Republican support off the plan. Without those votes, the plan, which was put together by Republicans and Democrats, couldn’t advance.

    While there had been numerous meetings and claims of progress over the ensuing months, nothing had been voted on since the end of February. Cullerton decided last week that the Senate had waited long enough and it was time for action.

    “Every day there’s not a budget, the state spends itself another $11 million into debt. March 1 was 71 days ago. It is now May 10. After today, there are 20 days left before our scheduled adjournment on May 31,” the Senate President told the Senate. “I don’t think we can wait any longer. I believe the public’s patience is wearing thin. One way or another, it’s time to vote.”

    The Senate did approve a provision to give local government greater flexibility in borrowing, something that should result in lower interest rates on financing and result in local taxpayer savings.

    But efforts to vote on and advance reforms to the state benefit system for injured workers and a local property tax freeze stalled because Republicans refused to let the Senate vote on the plans. Republican senators said they needed more time to tinker with the provisions before they would consider voting.

    Cullerton said the Senate will keep working and urged lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to realize time is running out, recognize the opportunity for compromise and seize it to help save the state’s economy.

    You can watch the Senate President answer reporters’ questions here:

  • Sen. Pat McGuireMcGuire: “‘Not yet,’ is beginning to sound like ‘Never.’”

    SPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Pat McGuire, D-Joliet, made the following statement Wednesday after the Senate took action on legislation included in the Grand Bargain package:

    “The twelve bills comprising the Grand Bargain were introduced back on January 11,” McGuire said. “They have repeatedly been modified to win bipartisan support. Yet the Rauner Republicans continue to say ‘Not yet,’ which is beginning to sound like ‘Never.’”

  • Sen. James F. ClayborneToday, the Illinois Senate failed to advance the remaining proposals in the Grand Bargain package they have been negotiating since January. State Senator James F. Clayborne (D-Belleville) issued the following statement:

    “Again we had a chance to put people’s livelihoods above politics, but  my colleagues on the other side of the aisle made it clear they are unwilling to compromise. Senate Democrats have worked tirelessly for months on a package of bills to get the state back on track. We have changed the package 35 times in an effort to reach compromise with the governor and Republicans. We cannot waste any more time. We must pass a budget.”

     

  • Sen. Donne TrotterSPRINGFIELD – Today, legislation meant to create a continuous fund for claims by people wrongfully imprisoned passed a key Senate budget committee. The Illinois Court of Claims stopped paying these claims nearly three years ago as a result of the budget stalemate. Senate Bill 1993 is necessary to keep up with claims payments.

    The budget stalemate in Illinois has prevented the claim payments of 20 exonerated former inmates owed a total of $3.4 million. Illinois owes a debt to people unjustly incarcerated, and the claim they receive will help them rebuild their lives.

  • mcguire 020817SPRINGFIELD — Joining student activists as they visited Springfield to call for funding for higher education, State Sen. Pat McGuire asked them to tell Gov. Bruce Rauner about how the impasse is affecting them.

    “I’m going to ask you to teach,” said McGuire, D-Joliet. “I have become an attentive student of Governor Bruce Rauner. In his State of the State address, he said ‘Job creators get excited by term limits.’ You know that’s not true. Job creators get excited by a well-trained, well-educated workforce. I’m convinced the Governor does not know our lives from a hill of beans. The real Illinois is not people like himself, worth $700 million. It’s people trying to get by on $8.25 an hour. People who need Monetary Award Program grants to continue their education.”

    The Fund Our Future Rally drew students from Moraine Valley Community College, the City Colleges of Chicago, the University of Illinois, DePaul University and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

    McGuire asked students to “teach the governor” by giving him sharp, specific examples of what the budget impasse is doing to their education.

    “Trust your experience,” McGuire said. “He can’t dispute what you’ve been through. He can’t dispute what you’re after.”

  • Sen. Pat McGuire

    State universities have made efforts to cut, but warn that the state suffers

    SPRINGFIELD — Speaking after presidents from five state universities testified on how they’re responding to the lack of a state budget and the possibility of more reductions to come, State Sen. Pat McGuire said a generation of students are being harmed by the governor’s lack of a clear plan for higher education in Illinois.

    “We’ve heard of ‘thousands of decisions,’ as Northern Illinois University president Douglas Baker put, to rein in costs and streamline programs,” McGuire said following the hearing, in which presidents explained in detail how they are attempting to triage staff and programs for possible reduction or elimination. “That action at NIU and other state colleges is in sharp contrast to lack of any apparent plan for higher education from the Rauner administration other than to let schools wither.”

    Calling the Illinois House’s recently-passed stopgap measure “unsustainable,” Baker said universities need stability and predictability from state government. Speaking of years of reduced state funding for higher education, Baker said:

    “Unfortunately, these kinds of cuts hit those with the lowest financial ability the most. It hurts the most needy students the worst, but it impacts all of them.”

    “In the absence of any plan from the Rauner administration for how to stabilize and strengthen our state’s higher education system, I fear we’re creating a two-class higher education system in Illinois where those who can afford it will be able to earn college degrees, but those who can’t afford it are out of luck,” McGuire said.

    McGuire, D-Joliet, is chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee.

  • Sen. Tom CullertonVILLA PARK— Illinois is currently paying $2.4 million to rent space in Springfield to store Department of Human Services’ records in a warehouse that could have been bought for $750,000.

    State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is outraged at Governor Rauner’s irresponsible use of state funds.

    “The governor prioritizes paper over people,” Cullerton said. “Meals on Wheels, rape crisis centers and mental health facilities are surviving on bare-bones budgets while state files are living the high life. It may be difficult for a big-time businessman to get this, but the state doesn’t have $1.65 million to waste on careless expenses.”

  • jjc elmhurst2Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton recently spoke at a government forum sponsored by Elmhurst College. His presentation was on the fiscal realities Illinois faces with its budget and why the state needs to get its backlog of unpaid bills under control.

    The following slides accompanied his speech and walk through where the state of Illinois gets its funding, where that funding goes, the true pressures facing the state budget and the devastating trajectory of the backlog of unpaid bills.

    The Senate President has been working on what’s been called a “Grand Bargain” to try to stabilize the state’s finances and enact key economic reforms.

  • martinez sos 012517CHICAGO — Illinois Senate Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement in response to news that Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) will cancel three days of classes to cut costs as Governor Rauner has failed to produce a state budget that supports higher education.

    “As a proud graduate of Northeastern Illinois University, it breaks my heart to see my alma mater facing this hardship because we have a governor whose refusal to negotiate a budget is dismantling higher education in Illinois.

    A high percentage of Northeastern Illinois University students are Latinos, making it a critically important institution for advancing academic and career opportunities for many students in my district and in the Latino community. I support Northeastern Illinois University Interim President Richard J. Helldobler’s call for the state to fund higher education. The state needs to support state schools.

    Sadly, what’s happening at Northeastern Illinois University is happening to colleges and universities throughout Illinois. Classes being cancelled, furloughs, faculty layoffs and students deciding to go to colleges and universities in other states has become too common. Governor, it’s time to do your job and start supporting higher education.”

    NEIU’s El Centro campus, located in Martinez’s district, has been a focal point for access to higher education opportunities in the Latino community.

    NEIU, which serves roughly 10,000 students, also recently closed for spring break to implement a weeklong furlough program and has had to let employees go due to the lack of a state budget.

  • Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton is often invited to speak to groups and organizations about the fiscal realities Illinois faces with its budget. This presentation was put together to help illustrate the real pressures from both the budget and the growing backlog of unpaid bills.

    The following slides walk through where the state of Illinois gets its funding, where that funding goes, the true pressures facing the state budget and the devastating trajectory of the backlog of unpaid bills.

    The Senate President has been working on what’s been called a “Grand Bargain” to try to stabilize the state’s finances and enact key economic reforms.

     

  • State Senator Mattie Hunter SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) criticized the Illinois Department of Public Health on Wednesday for proposing cuts to programs and services that would disproportionately affect minority communities.

    The Senate Appropriations I Committee heard testimony Wednesday morning from Nirav Shah, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, on possible budget cuts to reduce the $5 billion gap in Gov. Rauner’s budget.