No mention of college, seniors, disabled, veterans in Rauner budget speech (VIDEO)


The Illinois Senate listened to Governor Bruce Rauner's 2017 Budget Address today, presented at a time when no 2016 budget has been in place for more than eight months. Senate Democrats took note of several issues that went unaddressed by the governor, including budget items the General Assembly passed repeatedly and the governor vetoed all but K-12 education.

Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton made the following statement regarding the governor’s budget address:

“I want to focus on the positive, so I’m going to applaud the governor for making education a priority. We all know our current school funding system is broken. Now we need to summon the courage to fix it. The governor can be a vital ally in resolving what’s become the defining crisis of our time. But reform won’t come by simply throwing more money at the existing system. We need a complete overhaul.

"However, while I welcome his interest in education fairness, I am troubled by proposals that would appear to return to the days of skipping pension payments and raiding local funds to prop up state spending. That won’t help our state and it won’t help our local communities.

"And with all due respect to the governor, his budget speeches don’t help Illinois. At this point the courts are running more of the state than our governor. It’s going to require real plans and real action on his part to resolve the impasse he created. I want to work with him to find practical solutions to our problems because nothing Governor Rauner did in his first year worked for anyone.”

Earlier on Wednesday the Senate President appeared on Illinois Lawmakers. Listen here.

Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D – Maywood) released the following statement focusing on the need for an equitable education funding formula.

“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.

“We cannot wait any longer to give Illinois children the education they need to compete in this ever-changing world, and given his words today, I reserve hope that the governor is beginning to understand this. But, resources are scarce in many schools, disproportionately affecting minority students in Chicago and across the state. Schools are choosing between keeping students warm and paying for up-to-date textbooks. We need fundamental changes now that will address these issues in real ways.

“No one is talking about a budget that takes away from one student and gives to another. We are talking about lifting up a struggling student in a struggling school and providing her at least the same chance as anyone else to achieve her dreams.” 

President Pro Tempore Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) released this statement:

"Today, during this year’s budget address, the governor did not present a budget at all. Instead, he laid out stark and unrealistic choices – threats, really – for the General Assembly and for Illinois. His ultimatum is for lawmakers to either enact elements of his extreme agenda or abdicate our legislative responsibility and give him unilateral authority to cut programs and services as he sees fit.

"The governor is asking for a power already granted to him under the Illinois Constitution – the power to line-item veto – which he failed to use last year, instead issuing total vetoes that halted progress. Today was further evidence of his all-or-nothing demands, rather than a willingness to use tools designed to promote compromise and seek real solutions."



 Other senators shared their reactions:



Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill)
“The governor is making the same mistakes as his predecessors; we can’t go another year continuing to pour money into a broken school funding formula. By changing the school funding formula to reflect student need, we would ensure that Illinois’ education dollars are spent wisely.”
“The governor’s message today is that students who are living in poverty must wait until the wealthy are comfortable before they get the equity they deserve."

Michael Noland (D-Elgin)
“The governor presented Illinois with two different financial paths, neither of which are helpful to the families that call our state home. Gov. Rauner may have used gentler rhetoric this time. However, what he continues to ask for has not changed. It is clear to me that he is persistent in his attack on middle-class citizens, while protecting the rich. My only response can be to continue to fight for those families that need our help most.”

Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago)
"The governor acknowledged the need for early childhood and K-12 education funding, yet refused to step up for college students who face an uncertain future. I attended Monmouth College to better my life. Young adults who find themselves in the same situation I found myself in – young adults who want to improve their lives just like I did might have to quit school because he failed to keep his promise.”

Scott Bennett (D-Champaign)
“Our state universities and community colleges are going on eight months without state support. The governor needs to solve this immediate problem before creating additional ones.”

Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago)
"It’s frustrating that the governor gave his budget speech for next year when there is no budget for this year.  I’m committed to adequately funding K-12 education, but it’s hard to get past the fact that college students and state universities aren’t receiving state aid. You would think the governor’s priority would be getting us out of the budget impasse he created. Sadly, he doesn’t seem too concerned that Illinois doesn’t have a budget. I did not hear a path out of the budget impasse that will ensure college students and universities get aid immediately."

Pat McGuire (D-Joliet)
“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.”

Daniel Biss (D-Evanston)
“Gov. Rauner spoke extensively about our state's real structural problems and demanded that structural reforms be a part of the solution. I agree. However, he continues to prioritize anti-worker reforms that would push down wages and harm the middle class. In fact, he continues to imply that states can only thrive economically if they embrace right-wing, anti-union policies. Of course, this assertion is utterly false.

“Our state is being grievously harmed by the current budget situation, and neither the vulnerable people who rely on our human services, nor the students who attend our institutions of higher education, nor the good people who provide those services should be forced to accept any more of this.”

Gary Forby (D-Benton)
"This is getting out of hand. Today we heard a budget address when we still don’t have a budget for this year. How many places need to close, how many jobs need to be lost and how many people must lose vital services before this guy is willing to work with us to pass a budget? He has shut down the Sparta shooting range, cut off funding to Southern Illinois University, and as of recent, permanently closed the Southern Illinois Art and Artisans Center at Rend Lake, yet again costing people jobs. This simple fact is, we passed a budget and he vetoed it. I am working hard to help keep Southern Illinois afloat; I wish he would do the same."

Bill Haine (D-Alton)
"There are so many issues we can agree upon. It is time to sit down and find common ground for funding for our students, our universities, Alzheimer’s patients and those who are feeling the real impact of this budget impasse. It is time we work together to solve this budgetary crisis and work toward a caring and compassionate state.”

Laura Murphy, (D-Des Plaines)
“While I do appreciate the governor’s call to live within our means, Democrats and Republicans must come together to invest in our neediest populations. Last year, the governor drastically slashed programs for people with autism on World Autism Day and proposed cutting services to women with breast and cervical cancer. Giving him total control of the budget could have drastic consequences for our state’s most vulnerable citizens.”

Melinda Bush, (D-Grayslake)
"Governor Rauner has said that this 'isn't really about the budget, and I disagree. A long-term, partisan agenda does nothing for the charities that are closing or the college students that are dropping out because of a lack of grants. These people need a real, balanced budget proposal, right now. Whether it happens via the line item veto authority the Governor already has, or via good faith negotiation between the Governor and legislative leaders, it needs to happen immediately. I am ready to work with the Governor on fully funding education in Illinois," Bush said. "The Governor has a true opportunity to begin working with us this year, but I'd like to see a plan that doesn't just put more money into an inequitable system – Illinois children deserve a quality education regardless of their ZIP code."

Linda Holmes, (D-Aurora)
“In one plan, Governor Rauner continues to ask that we enact his highly partisan agenda before anything else can get done. In the other, he asks for authority to make cuts that he already possesses through selectively vetoing appropriations. The reason he’s presenting his second budget today while his first one remains unpassed is because he declined to use that very authority before. Funding K-12 is important, but it’s strange that we see this proposal without revenue to back it up, even as charities and critical human services programs face an uncertain future. We need to keep our funding priorities straight.”

Tom Cullerton, (D-Villa Park)
“Sadly, the governor made no mention of vital programs– seniors’ and veterans’ services, drug prevention programs to address our ever-growing heroin epidemic and funds to repair roads and bridges. I urge him to consider communities’ needs and put forward a responsible budget to fund important services for the people of Illinois."

Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills)
“This smoke-and-mirrors routine the governor continually delivers needs to end. We need a serious proposal that solves all the problems of Illinois. We need to be done with this piecemeal approach that the governor wants to take. If the governor wants to negotiate he needs to put forward a serious budget proposal, not more charades.

“This governor continues to deliver rhetoric that doesn’t help Illinois families. Today in his speech, the governor continued to ignore those trying to better themselves with a college education. Those who have been harmed the most show us that this is more than about the budget. This is about the seniors and students who don’t care about this agenda that the governor keeps trying to force through. They want a spending plan that puts the state back on a path to prosperity.”

Donne Trotter (D-Chicago)









Heather Steans (D-Chicago)


Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields)









Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford)