SPRINGFIELD, IL. – State Rep. Sonya Harper, D-Chicago, says local residents deserve additional budget negotiations and a better deal after reviewing details in the budget passed recently by the Illinois Senate.
“When I took office nearly two years ago, the budget impasse had already begun, and from day one I knew that individuals and groups in my district were already suffering and bearing the unfair brunt of not having a budget,” Harper said. “People in our communities deserve an honest budget that invests in our families. Unfortunately, the Senate’s plan is not yet to a point where I can vote yes. The only way we are going to get the honest budget we deserve is when the governor stops trying to run out the clock, stops campaigning and starts negotiating in good faith.”
Harper is concerned that the Senate plan does not close the Rauner budget deficit. Harper and House appropriations committees reviewing the budget proposal passed by the Senate have found a number phantom savings and other budgetary gimmicks that will cost taxpayers in the long run. The Senate proposal would authorize billions of dollars in new borrowing, but does not budget the payments needed to repay this debt. The proposal also includes savings from a pension bill that is not yet law and would only achieve short term savings while increasing costs down the road. It also assumes savings from a proposed increase to state employee insurance premiums which has not been agreed to by employees themselves.
While Harper has fought to restore funding for breast cancer screenings, services for the developmentally disabled and victims of domestic violence, the Senate’s budget plan cuts millions of dollars from these programs.
Harper also expressed concern that the Senate’s plan does not appropriate adequate early childhood education funds to meet federal guidelines, and fails to properly fund critical services necessary to help children achieve their full potential. Additionally, the Senate’s proposal contains only a portion of the funding needed to sustain MAP grants, which provides support for more than 130,000 Illinois students to attend college.
“We need a budget plan that is responsible, balanced and fair. While I know that they have worked really hard to get where they are now, I am concerned that some of the cost-saving ideas in the Senate proposal are not realistic, and would further disadvantage local families,” said Harper. “It is time for the governor to come back to the table and work with us to craft an honest budget.”
Visit Rep Harper’s website
276-S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 558-6370 FAX
4926 South Ashland
Chicago, IL 60609
(773) 925-6584 FAX