SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – House appropriation committee chairs Luis Arroyo, Kelly Cassidy, La Shawn K. Ford, Robyn Gabel, Rita Mayfield and Robert ‘Bob’ Rita released the following statement Wednesday following Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s budget address:

“Governor Pritzker’s budget address was a sobering reflection of the real challenges facing our state after four years of Bruce Rauner’s neglect and mismanagement. The Rauner crisis has left us with a $3.2 billion structural deficit, and $14 billion in unpaid bills. Eight credit downgrades in just four years leave us on the verge of junk bond status. And the consequences are falling on those who can least afford it, from seniors, to children in need, to elderly veterans.

“House Democrats will continue to prioritize funding for essential services, and ensure that our most vulnerable residents receive the resources they need. This is the first of many steps as we work to restore Illinois’ fiscal house over several years, and with that will come many tough but necessary decisions. We will continue reaching across the aisle and working with our Republican colleagues to craft bipartisan budgets that set Illinois on a path to financial stability.

“Governor Pritzker’s straightforward assessment of the challenges Illinois faces is a welcome departure from Rauner’s years of neglect. While a lot of negotiation remains to be done, the governor’s proposal shares our commitment to funding our most critical services and lifting up our local communities by creating good-paying jobs and rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. This is a starting point in a discussion of how we invest in education, repair our human services network, and ultimately create a better Illinois.

“As we begin the process of making a new budget and addressing these challenges, we come to the table prepared to work with the governor and legislators on both sides of the aisle with the goal of passing a responsible, balanced budget on time.”