This is the third year that Illinois has gone without a budget proposal. People are suffering and going without the resources they so desperately need because those in power are not willing to compromise for the greater good. Yesterday, the governor had the opportunity to restore the faith of investors and residents by providing a decisive plan for a balanced budget, but this was not the route he took.
In the budget address, the governor uttered a few phrases from Lincoln’s remarks to Congress on December 1, 1862: "The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew." But he left out the end of the phrase, and dare I say the most important part: We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country. The word “disenthrall” means to free from bondage and or liberate. Lincoln spoke of the United States freeing itself from the dogmas of the antiquated past, which required the relinquishing of slavery. A month after this speech, Lincoln made history by signing the Emancipation Proclamation. So it is not farfetched to believe that Lincoln would encourage us to liberate ourselves from the contention of the past and moved forward in an effort to save the state.
Prior to taking political office, a 45-year-old Lincoln had this to say on July, 1 1854: “The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do at all, or cannot so well do, for themselves, in their separate and individual capacities.”
Rauner has a choice: he can either be the change he wants to see or continue the dismantling of the state he calls home. But one thing is for certain, something must be done to alleviate the devastation felt by poor communities all over Illinois as the financial burden is not equally distributed. It is felt most keenly by fiscally strapped neighborhoods that rely on social services many would deem vital. In order to provide basic services to the people who need it most, localities need funding.
Even before Lincoln’s entrance into the political arena, he was well aware of the role that government plays in the lives of its citizens. When government runs efficiently, it maintains legitimacy, and when it fails to do so it is delegitimized. The government is supposed to meet the needs of the people as opposed to its own self-interest. This has not been the case in Illinois for the last three years. We can do better and we should. No one man is bigger than the constituents he serves. First, Lincoln recognized the need for change, and then he pursued it. Rather than shaking things up for the sake of shaking things up, he altered things in order to provide a richer form of equity to all those embroiled in the vestiges of slavery.
History is being made and it is up to every one of us to determine how we want to be remembered. As senator of District 17, I pledge to do everything within my power to ensure that my constituents are not left in the cold by the lack of budget. I will continue to fight for the needs of all those who rely on the state to fulfill its promise.
SPRINGFIELD — Today, Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is expressing her anger with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed cuts to programs that are vital to immigrants.
“Governor Rauner and President Trump have the same agenda of harming immigrants,” Martinez said. “It’s sad that the governor unveiled a budget yesterday that would eliminate services designed to help immigrants make contributions to Illinois’ economy and culture.”
The governor’s proposed budget would eliminate funding for immigrant integration services and welcoming centers. In all three of his budgets he has proposed eliminating funding for these programs.
Immigrant integration services include language assistance, health care, citizenship services and other basic supports. Welcoming Centers serve as lifelines to our state’s newest residents by offering classes and providing information on topics such as employment training and home ownership.
“I’m appalled by the governor’s lack of support for our state’s newest residents,” Martinez said. “Governor Rauner and President Trump’s policies demonstrate why it’s so important to support immigrants. Today and every day, I wholeheartedly support efforts to honor our immigrants and invest in their future.”
The governor gave his budget address one day before A Day Without Immigrants, which occurs today and is a day of action designed to honor immigrants and push back against Trump’s immigration policies. Pro-immigrant groups and activists will be highlighting the importance of immigrants.
After hearing Governor Rauner's speech to the General Assembly, Senate President John Cullerton provided caucus members with an analysis of the governor's 2018 budget proposal late yesterday. Prepared by Senate Democrats' Policy and Budget staff, the analysis looks at the increases, cuts and gaps in the budget.
The governor's proposal estimates revenues for 2018 of $32.7 billion and $37.3 in spending. It relies on the Senate's "grand bargain" plan -- still under negotiation -- for $4.6 billion toward that gap.
Illinois has gone two years without a complete budget.
On Wednesday Gov. Bruce Rauner has a chance to do his job and put an end to the state’s suffering.
The governor is scheduled to deliver his budget speech at noon and unveil his plan for the next state budget year, July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.
The Illinois Constitution requires the governor to propose a balanced budget.
SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13) released the following statement on the Senate’s vote on parts of the grand bargain budget deal:
"I am disappointed that Senate Republicans refused today to support elements of the grand bargain budget deal – parts that they requested and have supported in the past. During the debate, many Republican senators referred to these pieces of legislation as “easy,” and yet they failed to vote for them. If they are not willing to act on the low-hanging fruit of this overall negotiation, they are clearly not motivated to deal with the unprecedented and unacceptable budget impasse.
"I do believe many of my Republican colleagues wanted to vote in favor of these measures, but they were undermined by the governor’s office and members of the far right, who are sabotaging work towards a compromise that will allow us to create the stability our state needs."
SPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat and president pro tempore of the Illinois Senate, issued the following statement regarding today’s movement toward a grand bargain budget deal:
“Governing is messy. So is negotiation. Yet, today we passed three good-government measures, negotiated by both parties, in our drive toward a budget grand compromise. Saying yes to government consolidation, procurement reform and financing relief for municipalities all in one day is no mean feat.
“Clearly, the Senate has more work to do on this bipartisan grand compromise of ours, but I cannot stress enough that time is of the essence. We need to pass the remaining components of the deal as soon as possible, because the fallout from the state’s fiscal crisis will continue to worsen.
“Every day, Gov. Bruce Rauner spends $11 million more than the state has available to spend. I hope he will stop his allies from opposing our compromise, engage in honest negotiations and begin to use his office to lead – not to interfere with the Senate’s efforts.”
SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Jacqueline Collins, D-Chicago, issued the following statement after voting in favor of the first portions of a state budget compromise.
“Today we moved forward on a number of important key issues that will improve the way government functions,” Collins said. “This is the first step toward an end to this destructive stalemate. I want us to continue moving forward.”
Collins supported reforms to the way state government purchases goods and services, allows voters to combine or eliminate certain units of local government, and allows municipalities to take steps to more effectively issue bonds. Those measures, part of a grand bargain to resolve the state’s budget impasse, all passed Wednesday. While other portions of the bargain stalled due to lack of Republican support, Collins said she remains determined to continue working toward the passage of the full compromise.
Since the first of the year, Senate President John Cullerton and GOP Leader Christine Radogno have been working together to build a legislative package that would end the budget stalement and address a range of policy issues. They have traveled the state speaking to editorial boards of news outlets about the content of the bills, including procurement reform, local government consolidation, pension reform and a property tax freeze.
President Cullerton and Leader Radogno met with the Sun-Times Editorial Board Thursday afternoon to ask for the paper's support on the major legislation package in the works by bipartisan members of the Senate.
The Chicago Sun-Times' Mark Brown's column this morning describes the elements of the package designed to overcome the long-standing budget impasse, as well as characterizing the compromise efforts as refreshing.
Read the full column here.
SPRINGFIELD – Earlier this year, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) passed a measure through the Illinois Senate that will bring much-needed transparency and accountability to the state budgeting process. Her proposal, Senate Bill 2585, was signed into law by the governor today.
It will require the governor’s budget office to annually produce a report containing a four-year budget forecast that also lays out detailed solutions to solve any predicted budgetary shortfalls. The report also must be posted online so it is available to the general public.
SPRINGFIELD – A five-story, 200 bed veterans home on Chicago’s northwest side has stood vacant and half completed since June of last year. The home became a victim of the Illinois budget impasse. Thankfully, construction is set to resume thanks to Senator John G. Mulroe (D-Chicago).“It’s outrageous that projects like the Chicago Veterans Home ever got caught in the line of fire with the budget impasse,” Mulroe said. “These men and women served their duty to this country, and we can’t get our act together enough to ensure that they have a dedicated facility at their disposal?”The project broke ground in September of 2014, with a price tag of $70 million, slated to be completed midway through this year. The US Department of Veterans Affairs agreed to reimburse the state for up to 65% of the cost to build the facility. However, when funding for the project was not approved, local residents and veterans began to fear the worst.
Senate President John J. Cullerton (D-Chicago) shares his thoughts on the passage of SB2047, a stopgap budget measure.
Senator Donne E. Trotter (D-Chicago) speaks to SB2047, a negotiated budget agreement that passed the Senate today.
Senator John Sullivan (D-Quincy) speaks to the negotiated stopgap budget.
Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) speaks to the negotiated stopgap budget.
Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) speaks to the negotiated stopgap budget.
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