The governor and the General Assembly have about 100 hours left to agree on a state budget before the May 31 deadline.
A bipartisan, bicameral working group of legislators and the governor’s budget director last week forwarded to the governor and four legislative leaders a budget plan for FY 2016 (July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016) and FY 2017 (July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017).
A similar bipartisan, bicameral working group last week began seeking agreement on items on the governor’s Turnaround Agenda, such as collective bargaining, local government consolidation and worker’s compensation. That group continues to meet.
Agreement on both a two-year budget plan of cuts and revenue and reforms on Turnaround Agenda items would constitute a “grand bargain.”
In the event a grand bargain cannot be reached by Tuesday, Senate President John Cullerton has suggested a short-term compromise to, as he says, “keep the schools open, our universities open and our human service providers open while we continue to negotiate a broader, balanced budget solution.”
I encourage you to let the governor and the four legislative leaders know you favor a grand bargain and, if that is out of reach by Tuesday, a short-term compromise budget:
SPRINGFIELD — The governor’s veto late Monday of House Bill 580, which would provide interest arbitration for public employees who have been working without a contract for nearly a year, sets up an override battle in the Illinois House later this month. State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) issued the following statement:
“Interest arbitration is established as a fair way to settle contract disputes between Illinois units of government and their employees. State workers who toil in our prisons, aid our most vulnerable residents and perform other work many of us don’t have the heart or stomach for deserve interest arbitration. Please contact your state representative and urge him or her to support the override of HB 580.”
Senate President John J. Cullerton takes questions from reporters following the Leaders' Meeting on May 17, 2016.
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Senate passed legislation today to help shore up Illinois’ desperate human services systems.
State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) voted to release more than $700 million to local government and non-profit agencies that provide services such as mental health care, drug addiction treatment and home-delivered meals for seniors. McGuire is a co-sponsor of the measure, SB 2038, which passed the Senate on a 55-0 vote.
“Tens of thousands of Will County residents who faced the loss of essential services will benefit from today’s action,” McGuire said. “Just as with recent funding for higher education, Democrats and Republicans came together. But just as with the higher education measure, this human services measure provides less than half of what the General Assembly one year ago authorized the governor to devote to helping people. We must keep working.”
Having passed both the House and Senate, SB 2038 awaits the governor’s signature.
Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) defends funding human service agencies for the FY2016 budget on a concurrence vote.
Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) speaks about two budget measures that passed the Senate today at a Legislative Black Caucus press conference.
Senator Emil Jones (D-Chicago) speaks about two budget measures that passed the Senate today at a Legislative Black Caucus press conference.
Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) speaks about two budget measures that passed the Senate today at a Legislative Black Caucus press conference.
Senator Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) speaks about two budget measures that passed the Senate today at a Legislative Black Caucus press conference.
Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) argues in favor of funding human services on the Senate floor.
Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) argues in favor of a higher education funding plan on the Senate Floor.
Senator Donne Trotter(D-Chicago) argues in favor of a higher education funding plan on the Senate Floor.
Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey) argues in favor of his proposal to protect the first amendment rights of student athletes.
SPRINGFIELD — Today, the Illinois Senate passed legislation that closes an open wound in the 2016 budget.
Some 90 percent of the state budget is being spent because of various court orders and decrees. However, the 10 percent of the budget for higher education and many human services remains unfunded. State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) joined his colleagues voting to fund the missing 10 percent.
“Our higher education and human service organizations are on the brink of collapse,” said McGuire, chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee. “We have given the governor yet another opportunity to stand with Illinois’ neediest college students and most vulnerable residents.
“I hope that he makes the right choice this time.”
In addition to funding MAP grants and operations for the state’s post-secondary schools, Senate Bill 2046 authorizes the governor to release over $470 million for the Department of Human Services to fund addiction treatment, mental health services and other necessary programs.
SB 2046, having passed the Illinois House on Tuesday, now goes to the governor’s desk.
Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) argues the opposition on the floor, imploring them to vote for a higher education budget measure.
SPRINGFIELD – The next tragedy of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s 10-month budget impasse could be the closure of the Latino Treatment Center.
“The governor is completely out-of-touch with the needs of Latinos,” said State Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago). “His inability to govern and failure to get a budget done means that a vital organization providing substance abuse treatment services to Latinos is about to go under. It’s too bad the governor doesn’t care that his budget impasse is destroying Illinois’ social service network.”
The Latino Treatment Center has bilingual staff and evaluates and serves those in the Hispanic community by conducting evaluations for alcohol and drugs in either Spanish or English. Its staff specializes in outpatient treatment for substance abuse, treatment for families, individual and group counseling and adolescent treatment.
Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) today questioned why a state agency is expanding its payroll while failing to pay hundreds of struggling non-profit agencies that are contracted to provide important services on the state’s behalf.
Officials from the Illinois Department of Human Services revealed during an appropriations hearing that the agency hired about 800 new employees between July and December 2015.
Meanwhile, DHS has not been paying the agencies it contracted with throughout Illinois to provide vital human services for impoverished and underserved people on behalf of the state.
The governor’s budget address fails to help college students, vulnerable residents and disenfranchised communities. This was the core belief expressed by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus at their budget press conference on Wednesday.
ILBC Chair Kimberly Lightford joined members in calling student activists and the governor to action. She challenged the governor’s proposal to sell an outdated, broken education funding plan as true reform and his failure to address higher education concerns.
“Funding our schools without reforming our unfair education system does more harm than good. No matter how much wealth you have, throwing money at a problem is not going to solve it without understanding the real issues at hand. Our decades-old funding formula has not done anything to meet the needs of today’s students. It has only led to the most regressive funding system in the nation."
Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) shares some of his thoughts on the governor's budget address as it relates to education and education funding reform at a press conference on February 18, 2016.
Page 3 of 6