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Rauner cabinet optimistic about grand bargain, Senator Holmes skeptical

holmes 021617SPRINGFIELD -- State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, asked Illinois Department of Natural Resources Chief of Staff Brent Krebs why he and the department that he oversees remain optimistic about the passage of the grand bargain.

“You said that you are optimistic with the governor’s office and his budget people working on the grand bargain, which he has now blown up three or four times,” Holmes said. “With the governor’s budget being $4.6 billion out of balance, I want to know why you feel that this can be rectified without cuts to agencies such as yours, which have been pretty much decimated.”

Krebs responded that morale is still high in his department and that current budget woes have no effect on his optimism. “I maintain that an agreement can be reached,” Krebs said. “Without getting mired in the details of your negotiation, I’m convinced that we can get this thing done with some more negotiations.”

“I wish I shared your optimism,” Holmes said.

The bipartisan package of legislation known as the grand bargain was thrown off track last week when Gov. Rauner contacted Republican legislators and convinced them to vote against the package of interconnected proposals. Rauner’s move was a surprise to many, who pointed to the governor’s reliance on the framework’s revenue bills to close an almost $5 billion shortfall in his budget proposal and his public commentary praising the senate’s negotiations.

“I think you’re going to have to look at some cuts unless we get the governor to decide that he’s going to come up with revenue increases or even negotiate,” Holmes told Krebs. “At this point, Rome is burning. We need to do something.”

Holmes demands budget answers

Senator Linda HolmesSPRINGFIELD — In a Senate hearing with Acting Director Anna Hui of the Illinois Department of Labor, State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, asked what cuts could be made in the Department of Labor to close the $4.6 billion hole in Gov. Rauner’s out of balance budget proposal.

“Being that the governor’s proposed budget was $4.6 billion out of whack and we’re now finding that that number might be more optimistic than it’s going to be, I would appreciate hearing from the department itself where you would be most willing to make those cuts,” Holmes said. “Where would you like to see those cuts if we are in a position where they have to be made?”

“We are not in the position to speculate about where those cuts might come from,” Hui said, to which Holmes replied: “Okay. Let’s call that nonresponsive.”

This week, Sen. Holmes and her fellow Democrats in the Senate have asked more than ten heads of state agencies what they would do should they be asked to cut their agencies’ budgets. In this year’s budget proposal, Gov. Rauner put forward a plan that spends $4.6 billion more than it collects in revenue. Rauner’s FY 18 budget proposal relies on the General Assembly to close this $4.6 billion gap by proposing new revenues or making cuts.

“Gov. Rauner has been asking the General Assembly to give him the authority to make budget cuts for months. I would expect the governor’s agency heads to have some cuts already in mind,” Holmes said. “Clearly that is not the case.”

Director Hui is one of at least ten other state agency directors who have appeared before the Illinois Senate this week. None have suggested ways to close the $4.6 billion gap.

Holmes backs legislation to cut government waste

holmes 022817SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, issued the following statement in support of a measure to streamline local government:

“The property owners in my district have suffered under an increasingly large property tax burden,” Holmes said. “Property taxes rise for numerous reasons, but one common-sense way to control and lower them is to grant local governments the ability to consolidate and eliminate unnecessary and wasteful units. This legislation gives local voters the power to cut waste.”

With over 7,000 units of local government, Illinois has more than any other state in the country. The cost of operating some units of government is often costly and provides minimal benefit to the taxpayer. By allowing local voters to cut and consolidate units of government, this legislation will streamline government and improve services.

Holmes, Frerichs deliver $30,000 to local charities through I-Cash program

holmes 022217SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, announced today that a joint effort with Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs’ office is delivering $30,000 in unclaimed property to two Aurora charities, the Salvation Army and First Christian Church. The two organizations are each claiming 20 percent of a $78,000 estate from an Aurora woman who passed away in 1991. After the original owner passed away, her bank accounts were eventually turned over to the state. 

“The Illinois Treasurer’s I-Cash program is an important consumer protection that secures lost bank accounts and other unclaimed property for as long as it takes to return it to its rightful owners,” Holmes said. “I applaud Treasurer Frerichs for expanding efforts to locate rightful owners. It is an honor for us to help in the effort, and it is especially rewarding when the assets go toward a good cause.”

Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs is currently safeguarding $2.7 billion in recovered cash belonging to millions of Illinois residents. Shortly after taking office in 2015, Frerichs launched an intensive effort to track down the owners of large properties that had languished for years, especially those belonging to nonprofit organizations, employers, and estates. The Treasurer’s office is partnering with Holmes because residents of Aurora and Naperville have more than $18 million and $21 million in unclaimed property respectively, among the highest for any city in the state. 

“I applaud legislators like State Senator Holmes for working with my office to return to her constituents what is rightfully theirs,” said Frerichs. “We hope more legislators and constituents take advantage of this program. Our office is holding tens of millions from the municipalities in Sen. Holmes’ district. To find out if you have money or property that belongs to you, please visit the treasurer’s office website at www.illinoistreasurer.gov/ICASH.”

Through the I-Cash program, tens of thousands of Illinois residents discover and claim property each year, and the average claim paid is $2,900. A number of much larger properties remain to be claimed in the area, including: $91,000 from a CD account in Aurora, $110,000 from a savings account in Naperville, $104,000 from an investment account in North Aurora, and $100,000 in life insurance benefits in Montgomery.

Discovering and claiming unclaimed property is fast, free and confidential at illinoistreasurer.gov/icash. The Treasurer’s Office encourages individuals, businesses and nonprofits to check back every six months since hundreds of thousands of properties are added throughout the year. Claimants with questions or concerns can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sen. Linda Holmes

Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes

Assistant Majority Leader
42nd District

Years served: 2007 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture (Vice-Chairperson); Commerce and Economic Development (Chairperson); Executive; Labor; Local Government (Vice-Chairperson); Telecommunications & InfoTechnology.

Biography: Elected to the Senate in 2006; born March 16, 1959, in Chicago; received a bachelor's degree from the National College of Education (now National-Lewis University); First woman president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry; Full-time state legislator.

Associated Representatives:
Barbara Hernandez
Stephanie A. Kifowit