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Manar: Don’t balance the budget on backs of retired teachers

manar 062717SPRINGFIELD – There are better ways to balance the state budget than on the backs of elderly retired teachers who rely on meager pensions to survive, Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) said today.

“The Republican proposal would cost retired teachers in Illinois thousands of dollars by driving up out-of-pocket health care premiums,” Manar said. “I will continue to oppose any proposals by Republican lawmakers and Gov. Rauner that rely on raiding the pensions and health care funds for retired teachers to balance the state budget.”

Manar’s remarks were made in response to concerns raised today by the Illinois Retired Teachers Association regarding Republican budget plans that rely on underfunding state pension plans and reducing appropriations for retiree health care in order to claim they are “balanced” proposals.

A budget introduced by Republicans earlier this year cut the Illinois Teachers’ Retirement Insurance Program (TRIP) by more than 30 percent ($23 million), and the latest Republican budget nearly doubles the original GOP cuts to TRIP, slashing subsidies by $40 million, with plans to phase out health care assistance for retired teachers.

The Senate’s balanced budget, which passed on May 23, does not rely on massive cuts to retired teachers to close the $5 billion gap in Gov. Rauner’s budget. Manar said the state should keep its promises to retired teachers.

“Let’s start looking to the billionaires and corporations that can afford to kick in more, rather than the elderly retired kindergarten teachers who live in subsidized housing and ration their monthly checks to the penny so they can afford to buy groceries and pay the light bill,” Manar said.

Manar: Senate will continue to lead on budget, regardless of what governor chooses to do (AUDIO)

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:

Manar urges school superintendents to be wary of fake school funding data

manar 051917SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar is urging Illinois school superintendents to be aware that misleading figures are being peddled about Senate Bill 1, the school funding plan that passed in the Illinois Senate this week.

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office this afternoon acknowledged the figures are inaccurate and outdated but stopped short of denouncing them.

“This appears to be a textbook example of fake news. I am disturbed as to how and why this information was put out there and framed as official information from the Rauner administration, clearly with the intent of confusing and misleading people about Senate Bill 1,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat.

“Senate Democrats have asked the executive inspector general to look into that, but right now I want to make sure school superintendents are aware that outdated information is fraudulently being passed off as up-to-date news about Senate Bill 1.

“Furthermore, I hope Gov. Rauner and Education Secretary Beth Purvis will follow our lead and alert school officials about this misleading information to set the record straight. Anything less makes them complicit in a concerted effort to jeopardize Illinois’ shot at achieving meaningful school funding reform.”

Illinois Senate approves Manar’s library taxing district measure

manar 042617SPRINGFIELD – Thanks to a proposal State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) passed through the Illinois Senate this week, Illinois residents will be less likely to find themselves living in a new library taxing district without their consent.

Manar’s proposal, Senate Bill 864, was approved 55-0 Wednesday in the Senate.

“Taxation without representation was one of the principals our founding fathers fought against,” Manar said. “Libraries are important assets to our communities, but property taxpayers deserve to have a say on their property tax bill.”

The measure was prompted by a municipal library in Macoupin County that converted to a public library district. The new public library taxing district included three additional communities that had not been included in the former taxing district.

Similar situations are happening across the state. Because of ambiguous phrasing of current state law, residents in those communities did not have a direct say in whether they wished to be included in the taxing district for a library potentially many miles from their home.

Senate Bill 864 bars a public library from converting to a library district that includes areas not previously taxed before the conversion without direct approval of local governments. It will close two loopholes currently in the law that allow municipal library to become a library district without the consent of municipalities and areas that would be included and taxes in the new district.

Sen. Andy Manar

manar2014hs

48th Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture; Appropriations I; Appropriations II; Higher Education; Committee of the Whole; Executive Appointments (Vice-Chairperson); Education; Labor.

Biography: Born November 15, 1975, in Bunker Hill; B.A. in History, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; past chairman of Macoupin County Board; married (wife, Trista), has three children.