SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Today in his State of State address, Governor Rauner spoke about the challenges and opportunities facing our state. I share the Governor’s hope for a quick resolution to the budget impasse that continues to harm our communities, and urge the Governor to work with our legislative leaders to end the political roadblocks that have prevented us from moving forward together.
To date, the Governor has refused to negotiate the budget unless and until his political agenda is passed. The consequences of this are growing, as we continue to operate without a complete and full budget. The social service safety net is more and more vulnerable every day, our schools are facing significant budget cuts, the amount of unpaid bills continues to increase, and our economic climate remains unstable.
This is not governing. I continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find a way through the impasse – and agree that neither party can address this alone. I am open to the Governor’s ideas about redistricting reform and term limits on leadership, but my focus remains on passage of a budget as the top priority.
While the Governor stressed the importance of investing in education and said “nothing was more important that educating our young people,” his actions of the past two years have contradicted this. In his speech, he stated he supported “unprecedented funding” for our schools – yet last year he called any short-term funding to address the CPS fiscal crisis a “bailout” and refused to sign a pension bill to address the inequitable way pensions are funded in Chicago – leaving CPS with a $200M shortfall they are scrambling to make up. Moreover, he failed to support legislation to revamp the inequitable school funding formula that shortchanged low-income school districts like Chicago. I will continue to work toward sustainable and equitable funding of our neighborhood schools; this must be a top priority as the budget discussions evolve.
Now, more than ever, we need to work together toward fiscal stability for Illinois – and pass a fair, complete budget which takes into account the priorities of our communities. The Governor, legislative leadership and legislators from both sides of the aisle must stand up for the constituents they represent and find common ground. We have no other option.
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273-S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 557-7214 FAX
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Chicago, IL 60657
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