SPRINGFIELD — After the governor’s budget address Wednesday, State Senator Pat McGuire issued the following statement:
“The question was, ‘Will the governor introduce a one-year budget or a two-year budget?’ The answer appears to be ‘no budget at all.’
“The governor's support of early childhood and K-12 education is welcome. Yet he said nothing about helping low-income students pay for college or keeping the doors of our colleges and universities open. The governor talks about growing our economy, but his disregard of post-secondary education threatens to stunt Illinois' economic growth.
“The governor mentioned human services only in passing near the tail end of his speech. I am stunned by the governor's avoidance of the day-to-day toll his inflexibility is taking on the elderly, the disabled, the homeless, and our neighbors and family members battling mental illness and substance abuse.
“We, the people of Illinois, need to pull together and use our hearts and minds to save our state.”
UPDATE: 4:40 p.m. 2/17/2016: “A bit more information about the governor's FY 17 budget has become available. The governor's budget appears to spend $3.5 billion more than expected revenues. It looks like the governor wishes to balance his own budget by the General Assembly either rubber-stamping his Turnaround Agenda or giving up the legislative branch's constitutional role in the budget process.
“Both are dangerous paths to take. I encourage the governor to heed the advice of former Gov. Jim Edgar and others and to engage in sincere, sustained negotiations with legislators on the budget. Again, on the budget.”
Senate President John J. Cullerton shares remarks and a brief Q&A following the governor's budget address on February 17, 2016 in the State Capitol.
Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) shares his thoughts immediately following the governor's budget address on February 17, 2016.
Senator Iris Martinez (D-Chicago) shares her thoughts immediately following the governor's budget address on February 17, 2016.
Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) shares her thoughts immediately following the governor's budget address on February 17, 2016.
Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) shares her thoughts immediately following the governor's budget address on February 17, 2016.
Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) shares his thoughts immediately following the governor's budget address on February 17, 2016 in this exclusive audio.
Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) expresses disappointment in the governor's second budget address.
Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) shares his thoughts following the governor's second budget address on February 17, 2016 at the Illinois State Capitol.
Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) shares her thoughts following the governor's second budget address at a press conference in the Capitol.
Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) expresses her feelings on the governor's second budget address at a press conference February 17, 2016.
Senator Donne Trotter(D-Chicago) shares his thoughts following the governor's budget address at a recent press conference.
Assistant Majority Leader and Legislative Black Caucus Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) speaks regarding the governor's budget address at a recent press conference.
Senate President John Cullerton appeared on IL Lawmakers following the governor’s budget address on February 17, 2016.
This week, Crain's Chicago Business published an opinion piece from Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) regarding comparisons between other states and our state, particularly those by the governor in seeking to justify his agenda.
Everywhere I go, I hear the same question: What on earth is going on in Springfield? People can't figure out why we have no budget, what the consequences are, whether our economic future is slipping away from us and what can be done about it all.
Sometimes they even go on to point out that surely something is wrong and in need of reform in Illinois, so it must stand to reason that we should enact Gov. Bruce Rauner's agenda.
Senate President John Cullerton on Monday called Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation school funding formula the defining crisis of our time and challenged Gov. Bruce Rauner to turn around Illinois by making fair funding for schools his top priority.
Cullerton outlined the problems with Illinois’ school-funding formula during a sold-out speech at the City Club of Chicago, whose members include prominent civic, business and government leaders.
“Our students, parents, teachers and taxpayers are tired of the bickering, tired of the impasse,” Cullerton said. “They’re looking for leaders with the courage to step beyond the status quo and do what’s right. Today I’m asking my colleagues to take that step.”
Illinois has not updated its school funding formula since 1997. The system has resulted in striking inequities across Illinois’ school districts, rewarding wealthier communities and penalizing impoverished communities where students need more resources to succeed.
In addition, Illinois covers barely a third of the total cost of public education, while most states cover half.
As a result, the performance gap that divides rich and poor students, as well as students of color, ranks among the worst in the nation. Illinois is 42nd in terms of the gap in reading scores among these students, and it falls among the bottom 10 in the achievement gap between black and white students.
Cullerton said Illinois leaders must ask themselves two questions: How much are we going to spend on education, and how are we going to spend it?
“If the money isn’t going to help students in need, it doesn’t really matter how much we spend,” he said. “That’s why our funding formula needs to be overhauled.”
To level the playing field among schools, Cullerton said a new funding approach must include some key principles:
Cullerton noted that no one wants any school district to lose money. But in Illinois’ system of winning and losing school districts, there are far too many losers.
“There’s a reason why the current school funding formula has been in place for two decades. It’s hard to change an entrenched status quo. It requires true, dedicated leadership,” Cullerton said. “The question is whether today’s leaders are up to the task.”
Download the Senate President's City Club remarks Download the slides from the Senate President's presentation
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