House Democrats play games with education funding. Following the Senate’s vote on Sunday to override Governor Rauner’s Amendatory Veto of Senate Bill 1, the Illinois House met in session on Wednesday, ostensibly to act on education funding reform.

Unfortunately, Wednesday’s House session was nothing more than political theatre.

Rather than negotiate a compromise to achieve fair and equitable funding for schools throughout Illinois, Speaker Madigan once again chose to do nothing.

State Reps. Michael McAuliffe, Christine Winger, Peter Breen, Grant Wehrli, and Keith Wheeler today introduced legislation, House Bill 4082, to immediately repeal the one-cent-per-ounce Cook County Sweetened Beverage Tax. The tax, which went into effect on August 2, will result in Cook County consumers having to pay on average 67 percent more for a 2-liter of pop, 43 percent more for a gallon of juice drink or sweetened iced tea, and 29 percent more for a 12-pack.
The Illinois General Assembly’s 2017-18 state budget tore a page from the script of “Casablanca,” the 1942 Oscar-winning movie, but lawmakers likely didn’t realize it.

In the movie, nightclub owner Rick Blaine, played by Humphrey Bogart, reproaches Signor Ferrari, played by Sidney Greenstreet, for always withholding a percentage of Rick’s liquor shipment.

Smiling, the sly, rotund Ferrari responds, “Carrying charges, my boy, carrying charges.”

The new state budget, approved July 6, casts the Illinois Department of Revenue in the role of the cagey Ferrari.

In the role of Rick are local governmental officials who wonder why 2 percent of certain local sales tax dollars, collected by the Department of Revenue, are suddenly being withheld.

Why, it’s simple.

Carrying charges, my boy, carrying charges.

In this case, those new “carrying charges” were authorized by Illinois lawmakers, mainly Democrats, who overrode Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the state budget. Read the rest of the Sauk Valley Media Editorial.
As more and more Illinoisans are fleeing the state due to the crushing tax burden, today State Representative David S. Olsen  joined Governor Bruce Rauner, Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin and a bipartisan group of lawmakers in DuPage County as he signed into law a bill that makes it easier for units of government to consolidate or dissolve.

“What we are doing today will allow us to more effectively serve the people we represent,” said Olsen. “It is a great first step, and I look forward to continuing this bipartisan effort to make government more responsive and cost-effective for the citizens we represent.” Read more.
General Assembly to convene next week on education funding reform. The Illinois Senate will convene on Sunday, August 13, to consider a possible override vote on Governor Rauner’s Amendatory Veto of Senate Bill 1, the controversial education funding reform bill.

The Illinois House of Representatives will convene on Wednesday, August 16, for possible action on SB 1 and related legislation.
State Representative David S. Olsen joined Governor Bruce Rauner on the campus of the University of Illinois today for the signing of legislation that will streamline and reform regulations that govern how Illinois buys billions of dollars in goods and services each year.

SB 08, now known as P.A. 100-0043, addresses the state’s procurement system and includes multiple provisions that will quicken the process and reduce costs. “These reforms to the state’s purchasing system will ease burdensome regulations and save our public institutions money,” said Olsen, at the bill signing on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s engineering campus. “I am proud to have co-sponsored this pivotal piece of legislation and am pleased that I could join the Governor for the bill signing at my alma mater. The University of Illinois and our other colleges and universities will benefit greatly from the cost-saving measures included in this bill.” Read more here.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin released the following statement today on the retirement announcement of State Representative Mike Fortner:

“I have been privileged to serve alongside Mike Fortner throughout his time in the Illinois General Assembly. He has been a leading voice on important issues such as energy policy, election reform, local government and technology. Mike used his background and expertise to serve the public good and he has been a tremendously effective legislator. We will all miss his professorial intellect, wit and ability to work in a bipartisan fashion to improve the lives of Illinois families. I wish Mike all the best in his future endeavors.”

Leader Durkin appointed Representative Fortner to serve as the Minority Spokesperson for numerous House committees, including: Cities and Villages; Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, & IT; Economic Opportunity; Elections & Campaign Finance; and Tollway Oversight. Fortner has been a member of the Illinois House of Representatives since 2007.

As parents and students begin preparing for a new school year, they can take comfort in knowing that Gov. Bruce Rauner has a plan that ensures schools open on time, while also providing them with record funding levels through a new, improved school funding formula.

Time is of the essence. It is imperative this plan becomes law so school aid payments can be sent on time, while also ensuring all school districts are treated fairly and equitably. Because Democrats sat on this measure for two months, the Illinois Senate now has little more than a week left to act. Therefore, we are encouraging our Democratic colleagues to support this plan as it provides the most immediate and best path forward.

Senate Bill 1, in its original form, provided special favors to the Chicago Public Schools at the expense of the other 851 school districts in Illinois. This is not the best way to move forward with fixing our antiquated school funding system. That is why the governor, once he finally got Senate Bill 1 sent to his desk, swiftly upheld his commitment to treat all school districts fairly and equitably through his amendatory veto. Read the entire letter from Republican Leaders Durkin & Brady in the Chicago Tribune.

Gov. Rauner issues amendatory veto to ensure school funding bill is fair, equitable for all students. Tuesday, Gov. Bruce Rauner issued an amendatory veto to Senate Bill 1, the school funding bill. The matter now heads to the Illinois General Assembly, where the governor has respectfully requested that lawmakers uphold his changes. If these changes are upheld, Illinois will achieve historic education funding reform.
State Senators Jason Barickman and Dan McConchie, and State Representatives Avery Bourne and Bob Pritchard today released the following statement in response to State Senator Andy Manar’s Springfield press conference:

"We've long known that Democrats would attack the Governor's amendatory veto. The question is whether they'll work with us in good faith on a bipartisan agreement. The time for pointing fingers is over. We need to work together, in good faith, to reach a bipartisan solution to this unnecessary crisis. Schools and school children need to know that their government is being responsive to their needs. We stand ready to work together to finish the job. There's too much at stake to wait any longer."

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin released the following statement on the recent retirement announcement of State Representative Bob Pritchard:

“I have served with Bob in the House of Representatives since 2003, his dedication and values of hard work have made it a privilege serving with him. Even though Bob is not seeking re-election, his work in the legislature is not finished yet. Bob has and continues to work diligently on issues which are important to our state and the next generation. His expertise and passion to find a solution that is beneficial to both schools and tax payers is invaluable, which is why I recently appointed him to serve as a lead negotiator on education funding reform. Bob is a friend whose work ethic and values will be missed in the General Assembly.”

Representative Pritchard has been a member of the Illinois House of Representatives since 2003. Pritchard currently serves as Republican Spokesperson on the following three committees; Appropriations-Elementary & Secondary Education; Elementary & Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies; and State Government Administration.
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) released the following statement today on the retirement announcement of Assistant Republican Leader Bill Mitchell.

“I have been privileged to serve alongside Bill Mitchell since he first came to the Illinois General Assembly in 1999. He has always been a passionate advocate for downstate Illinois, standing up for the priorities and values of his constituents. Bill’s advocacy was instrumental in helping keep the Clinton nuclear power plant open. As a member of my leadership team, Bill continues to provide me with a perspective that is much needed in the Capitol. More importantly, Bill Mitchell is my friend and someone whose opinion I’ve always respected. I wish him all the best as he looks forward to a well-deserved retirement at the completion of his term.”

Leader Durkin appointed Representative Mitchell to the position of Assistant Republican Leader in 2015 and again in 2017. Mitchell also serves as Minority Spokesperson for the House Insurance: Property and Casualty Committee. He has been a member of the Illinois House of Representatives since 1999.
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin joined The Steve Cochran Show on WGN Radio this morning to explain the current state of the education funding plan and what needs to happen next to ensure schools open on time.

Listen here.

Gov. Bruce Rauner today signed Executive Order 2017-04 to improve and streamline Illinois state government. This action reaffirms the administration’s commitment to transforming administrative law in Illinois. The goal of enhancing justice was the driving force behind the Administrative Hearings Executive Order.

Administrative hearings govern hundreds of important interactions between the state, its citizens and businesses. They are quasi-judicial proceedings, and some look identical to trials. More than 150,000 administrative hearing matters are opened each year across state agencies. These hearings cover wage disputes, child support claims, professional licensing decisions, permits, and the range of State services and benefits available to Illinoisans.
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) released the following statement today on the retirement announcement of Deputy Leader Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale):

“I have been privileged to serve alongside Patti Bellock since she first came to the Illinois General Assembly in 1999. Patti has brought the common-sense approach of a mother and grandmother to her public role, combining a keen understanding of how the law impacts people’s lives with a depth of knowledge and expertise in key policy areas unequaled among her peers. Patti’s unparalleled work ethic has been a tremendous asset to our caucus, particularly over the past four years in her role as our Deputy Leader, the first woman in Illinois history to serve in that post. Patti will long be remembered as an extraordinary leader and a tireless advocate for Illinois families; particularly on health care, disability and budget issues. Patti and I have been personal friends for many years, so I wish her and her family all the best as she looks forward to the next chapter in her life at the completion of her term.”

Leader Durkin appointed Representative Bellock to the position of Deputy House Republican Leader in October 2013. Leader Bellock also currently serves as a budget negotiator for the House Republican Caucus, Minority Spokeswoman for the House Human Services and Human Services Appropriations Committees, respectively, as well as being the co-chair of the Illinois Human Trafficking Task Force. She has been a member of the Illinois House of Representatives since 1999.
Leader Jim Durkin asked the Attorney General in May to
weigh-in on the necessity of having a revenue estimate.
Did the Illinois General Assembly pass an illegal budget? House Republicans are asking Attorney General Lisa Madigan to weigh in on whether lawmakers skipped a vital step in the process.

For nearly two years, state Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, has been pleading with House leadership to adopt a revenue estimate in its budget-making process, which he believes state law requires.

In May, Wheeler and many others asked Madigan to give her opinion as to whether lawmakers need to officially adopt an expectation of how much they'll bring in before they can pass a budget. He did not receive a response, although Madigan was not required to provide one. Read the rest of the story.

A few days ago, state Rep. Sam Yingling, D-Grayslake, wrote a Tribune commentary accusing Gov. Bruce Rauner of not caring about the people of Illinois and state government's role in serving their needs. I'm here today to disagree. To borrow the opening construction my colleague used in attacking the governor:

Mike Madigan doesn't care. That's the conclusion I've come to after serving in the General Assembly since early 2015.

It has been clear that he doesn't care about the financial well-being of the residents and businesses of Illinois since he first took office in 1971. Unbalanced budgets, chronic overspending, increased debt load, underfunded pension schemes and expansion of entitlement programs have left Illinoisans paying one of the highest overall tax burdens of all 50 states. And it is still not enough to pay for his reckless ways. Madigan doesn't care.

Over the past 2 1/2 years, rank-and-file House members have been working across the aisle to fix some of the systemic problems connected to our state budget — workers' compensation reform, pension reform, a fair and equitable K-12 education funding formula and meaningful property tax relief — only to have Speaker Madigan swoop in at the last minute and kill the discussions. Why would he do that? The answer is simple, power.

Read the rest of Rep. Grant Wehrli's commentary:
At some point, many of those elected by the people stopped caring about the people and started putting the whims of the political hierarchy above all else.
Their actions have jeopardized the well-being of the state and thrown the liability onto those too often ignored in the halls of the Capitol, the taxpayers.
It was apparent for the better part of two years that the majority was not interested in reform or spending controls. Instead, they wanted a massive tax increase to feed their insatiable need for abusive over-spending. Read the rest of editorial in the Alton Telegraph.
Schools may be at risk of not opening on time in the fall, affecting thousands of students, if the Senate does not immediately send a school funding bill to the Governor for his action. Illinois Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti is encouraging Illinoisans to get involved by signing her petition urging the Senate to send SB1 at once to the Governor. 

After a bill passes both the House and Senate it should be sent to the Governor to sign, or veto. However in this case, SB1 was held by the Senate in a parliamentary move to prevent the Governor from taking action. This move has the potential of creating chaos and crisis for our schools and Illinois families.

Tell the Senate to release the bill and prevent the unnecessary stress and pressure on our families by signing the petition.
Governor Rauner calls on State Senate to send him education funding bill. Earlier this week, Governor Bruce Rauner called on members of the Illinois Senate to send him Senate Bill 1, the education funding bill. Democrats in the Illinois Senate are using a procedural quirk to keep the bill from advancing. If the bill is not sent to Governor Rauner’s desk soon, public schools throughout the state may not open in time for the new school year.

As part of Illinois' Keep Cool Illinois campaign, Governor Rauner has made over 120 state facilities available as cooling centers. The cooling centers will provide Illinoisans a place to stay cool and comfortable during hot summer days.

  • Tollway Oasis locations are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 
  • Department of Human Services cooling centers are open during normal business hours from 8:30AM - 5:00PM, Monday through Friday. 
  • Find a Cooling Station near you: https://www.illinois.gov/KeepCool/SitePages/CoolingCenters.asp

For more information about DHS Cooling Centers, please call the Illinois Department of Human Services hotline at (800) 843-6154 during normal business hours.

Where would you rather your hard earn tax money be directed, into the classroom for kids or to prop up Chicago’s mismanaged pension system?

A new 32% income tax increase just went into effect on July 1 and Chicago politicians want to use it to bail out a pension system they failed to fund instead of using it to educate children across the state. The once bipartisan SB1 was a plan that would have equitably funded all schools in Illinois, ensuring each and every child was treated fairly. However in the waning moments of regular session, Chicago interests hijacked the bill and earmarked some of the money for the City of Chicago.

An effort to get a clean bipartisan equitable funding formula back on track emerged with HB 4069. Every district is treated fairly and benefits at the highest level under HB 4069. To see how your schools benefit click here:
To twist a cliché, when Chicago sneezes, Illinois catches a cold.

Such could be the case with two Senate bills that attempt to change the outdated and imbalanced formula that determines how much state money goes to Illinois school districts.

The legislation has sparked something of a tug-of-war in Springfield. Supporters of the measures, Senate Bill 1 and Senate Bill 1124, say they guarantee that enough resources are given to every school district, regardless of where they are located.

But some critics see them as a bailout of Chicago Public Schools that faces a financial black hole and ballooning pension obligations. Read the rest of the editorial in the Pantagraph.
If a service is needed, the people who provide it shouldn’t have to point out how important it is.

So it was telling that the Township Officials of Illinois released a statement Monday on what it sees as the good townships provide — shortly after a House committee discussed a measure that would make it easier for residents to consolidate local units of government.

The statement touted that townships maintain 71,000 miles of roads in the state and run programs that provide food, shelter and emergency general assistance for those in need. The association argued that taxpayers would pay more if the duties of smaller governments were shifted to larger units because they have higher cost structures.

But the statement reflects the mindset found at all levels of Illinois government: If change happens, just make sure it doesn’t affect me (and the unit of government I work for). It’s this “me first” culture that has permeated Illinois government and marooned the state in a financial morass. Read the opinion piece in SJ-R.
There are two school funding plans being considered in the Illinois House of Representatives (HB4069 & SB1) and the distinctions can be a bit confusing. The chart below separates fact from fiction. You can also  download the chart here.

To twist a cliché, when Chicago sneezes, Illinois catches a cold.

Such could be the case with Senate Bill 1, crafted by Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, that tweaks the archaic and imbalanced formula setting how much state money goes to Illinois school districts.

The legislation awaiting approval from GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner has sparked a strong tug-of-war in Springfield — which is really saying something in a state that hasn’t had a proper budget in almost three years.

Supporters say it guarantees any new funding allocated to education be sent to school districts most in need. But critics see the changes as a pure bailout of the Chicago Public Schools, which faces a profound financial black hole and ballooning pension obligations.

In other words, it’s the vintage Chicago-versus-downstate narrative that thwarts so much of our state’s evolution.

Chicago’s sniffles are being heard far and wide, and they might wreck the whole thing. And that’s bad for Decatur schools.

Here’s why: For school districts with high poverty rates, changing the school-funding formula is the clearest solution to making sure money is directed to students in a fair way.

Key Republican Legislators Renew Urgent Call for Compromise Balanced Budget Plan. Upon returning to Springfield for special session on Wednesday, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), Senate Deputy Republican Leader Bill Brady (R-Bloomington), Assistant Senate Republican Leader Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington), Senate Republican Caucus Whip Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles), Senator Dale Righter (R-Mattoon), Deputy House Republican Leader Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale), Deputy House Republican Leader Dan Brady (R-Normal) and House Republican Conference Chairperson Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) offered a reminder that a compromise balanced budget with reforms is on the table and ready to be enacted.
All Illinois school districts would benefit from a more equitable distribution of state education dollars under a compromise proposal introduced by State Representative Bob Pritchard (R-Sycamore) to fix the state’s broken school aid formula and end the budget stalemate, according to data released by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

The legislation, House Bill 4069, is a true compromise that embraces the priorities of lawmakers from both parties and both legislative chambers, and reflects the recommendations of the Governor’s bipartisan, bicameral Illinois School Funding Reform Commission.
Governor Bruce Rauner today signed a landmark criminal justice bill in his capitol office with Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), and other members of the General Assembly. The bill is a result of successful negotiations between the administration, City of Chicago and the General Assembly that will crack down on criminals who are repeat gun offenders, safely reduce the prison population, and create a more rehabilitative criminal justice system.
Republican lawmakers Wednesday laid resolution of the state’s budget impasse squarely at the feet of House Speaker Michael Madigan.

At a Statehouse news conference as a 10-day special session was about to begin, Republican lawmakers said the House Democrats are the only group that has yet to lay out a spending and revenue plan to end the nearly two-year budget stalemate.

“Speaker Madigan and the House Democrats will need Republican votes if they want to end this impasse,” said House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs. “It is up to them. The time for just having vague, general discussions is over.”

Durkin was referring to the fact it now takes 71 votes in the House to pass bills, including a budget. Democrats hold 67 seats in the chamber.

Republicans have put out a $36 billion spending plan that includes $5 billion in cuts. They have also said they will consider a $5.4 billion tax increase plan approved by the Senate that is needed to balance the state’s budget. Republicans said their support of a revenue plan is contingent on a number of other bills passing the legislature, including workers compensation changes, pension reform, term limits and other items. Read more.
Republican Legislators Present Compromise Balanced Budget Plan. House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), Senate Republican Caucus Whip Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles), Assistant Senate Republican Leader Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington), Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon), Deputy House Republican Leader Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) and House Republican Conference Chairperson Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) have introduced a package of bills to end the budget impasse. The bills represent a compromise balanced budget and reforms that address the priorities of both parties, and urged the General Assembly to return to Springfield to vote on this proposal.
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), Senate Republican Caucus Whip Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles), Assistant Senate Republican Leader Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington), Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon), Deputy House Republican Leader Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) and House Republican Conference Chairperson Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) today introduced a package of bills to end the budget impasse. The bills represent a compromise balanced budget and reforms that address the priorities of both parties, and urged the General Assembly to return to Springfield to vote on this proposal.
The playbook is being followed, pretty much like Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner predicted.

The Illinois House wouldn’t even bring a budget bill to a vote before they adjourned May 31. Rauner said House Democrats would spend the summer holding press conferences and “sham” hearings with those hurt by the budget. Democratic state Reps. Jay Hoffman and LaToya Greenwood followed the plan and did just that Wednesday.

Well, it is easy to believe the pain of folks suffering from the lack of a budget. A day care for the elderly is only open because they won the lottery. There is evidence everywhere, from our university campuses to the gargantuan, $15 billion pile of unpaid bills. Read the editorial in BND.
“We are taking an important step in improving our state’s criminal justice system,” Governor Rauner said. “Our system must work equally for all our residents, in every community, regardless of their income. We should be focused on putting people in jobs not jail.”

Overcrowding is a problem in many county jails, partly because low-level offenders cannot pay their bail. They are forced to stay behind bars until their trial. The purpose of the legislation – SB 2034 – is to ensure low-level, non-violent offenders have their bond reviewed quickly and even lowered if they have not been able to post bond because of financial reasons. Additionally, this group of offenders will earn more credit toward fines while incarcerated.
Chicago has long been a city divided by race and class, a metropolis with starkly different crime rates, economic realities and educational opportunities depending on where you live. But there’s another division in Chicago and Cook County, one that for years has gone unexamined even as it pits rich against poor.

An unprecedented analysis by the Tribune reveals that for years the county’s property tax system created an unequal burden on residents, handing huge financial breaks to homeowners who are well-off while punishing those who have the least, particularly people living in minority communities.

The problem lies with the fundamentally flawed way the county assessor’s office values property.

The valuations are a crucial factor when it comes to determining property tax bills, a burden that for many determines whether they can afford to stay in their homes. Done well, these estimates should be fair, transparent and stand up to scrutiny.

But that’s not how it works in Cook County, where Assessor Joseph Berrios has resisted reforms and ignored industry standards while his office churned out inaccurate values. The result is a staggering pattern of inequality. Read more by the Chicago Tribune's Jason Grotto.
There’s a border war raging.  It’s not between two countries.  This war is being waged between Illinois and surrounding states.  And it’s not just a battle for businesses.

“I make more money and everything is cheaper,” said Bill Roberts.

He lived in west suburban Westmont until the company he works for moved from Bedford Park, Illinois to East Chicago, Indiana.

Hoist Liftruck, took employees on a tour of the new factory that also included a visit to nearby northwest Indiana neighborhoods.  Roberts decided to move as well.  He was renter in Illinois but had enough money to purchase a home 40 miles away in Indiana. WGN has  more.
With a desire to start a serious discussion about the many large issues facing the State of Illinois, State Representative Tim Butler (R-Springfield) has introduced House Joint Resolution 68 which would allow the question of calling a state Constitutional Convention to be on the 2018 Illinois General Election ballot.

"We have now gone over 700 days without a real budget in our State, and last week we once again ignored our mandated deadline to get something done for the people of Illinois,” Rep. Butler said. “I have heard so many of my colleagues, as well as citizens around the State, say that we need changes to our Constitution to truly move forward, and that is the main reason why I have introduced this call for an Illinois Constitutional Convention.

“Next year will represent a half century since Illinois' last Constitutional Convention was called and our State faces challenges today not envisioned by convention delegates 50 years ago. I believe it is time the citizens of our State once again have the ability to provide their say on if they want to change our Constitution through a comprehensive convention. Read more.
It is easy to get lost in the big picture of frustrations over the state legislature's inability yet again to produce a budget.

But doing so obscures a lot of meaningful little pictures that also are a part of Springfield's mosaic of many failures.

One of those little issues that is actually a huge one is school funding reform.

The Illinois Senate moved on that monumental question this session, but with such a transparently cynical move to turn it into an unjustified windfall for Chicago that it is sure to be vetoed by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Chicago Democrats used the issue as a means to maneuver a bailout of the mismanaged Chicago Public Schools system that for years has wildly overspent while over-promising its powerful unions.

Unfortunately, many Democratic legislators from the suburbs shamefully went along. Read the editorial in the Daily Herald in its entirety
Budget – General Assembly
Democrats fail to enact budget. Here we go again. We've reached the May 31st session deadline and once again, the Democrat-controlled General Assembly has failed to do its job.

This week marked 700 days without a State budget. This is the longest period without a budget of any state in modern U.S. history.

No balanced budget, no meaningful reforms to get Illinois back on track.
Here is what House Republican members are saying about Speaker Madigan’s failure to call the state budget for a vote by the May 31st deadline:

Rep. Norine Hammond (Macomb, IL)
"It is, indeed, entirely unacceptable that Illinois is poised to enter a third year with no State Budget in place. We need a balanced budget right now! We cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good. We also cannot let the bad pass as good just to drop a mission accomplished banner and pat ourselves on the back." http://www.norinehammond.org/2017/05/op-ed-make-no-mistake-there-will-be.html

Rep. Dan Swanson (Alpha, IL)
"As a minority member of this co-equal legislative branch of government, I urge our leaders on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers, to immediately address this breach of oath and enact a revenue estimate and negotiate a balanced comprehensive budget." http://www.repswanson.com/2017/06/swanson-reacts-to-record-setting-third.html

Rep. Sheri Jesiel (Winthrop Harbor, IL)
"The taxpayers, students and most vulnerable being made to endure this calamitous situation deserve better and I hope the Speaker will finally put people ahead of politics before it is too late." http://www.sherijesiel.com/2017/05/jesiel-says-failure-to-even-vote-on.html
Rep. Barbara Wheeler (Crystal Lake)
"Today, another spring legislative session ended, and with it ended another opportunity to stop the financial death spiral gripping Illinois. Despite the efforts of many rank-and-file members to create a balanced budget compromise, Illinois’ rigged political system has once again superseded good governance." http://www.barbarawheeler.org/2017/05/wheeler-politics-continues-to-supersede.html

Rep. Terri Bryant (Murphysboro, IL)
"Instead of working with House Republicans and the Governor to pass a balanced budget, the House Democrats, led by Speaker Madigan skipped town without changing a thing. A budget bill wasn’t even put on the board for a vote in the House." http://www.repbryant.com/2017/05/bryant-house-dems-kick-budget-can.html
 Rep. Jerry Long (Streator, IL)
“It is imperative that we come together to pass a full-year, balanced budget that provides for our families and for the most vulnerable in our communities. Education, human services, and public safety have all fallen victim to these political games. Let’s come together to accomplish what the taxpayers sent us here to do.” http://www.repjerrylong.com/2017/06/rep-longs-statement-regarding.html
 Rep. Ryan Spain (Peoria, IL)
"A true budget solution for Illinois will involve tough choices. I’m prepared to make tough choices and to compromise, but good faith efforts and cooperation will be needed. Let’s roll up our sleeves and work together to pass a budget by June 30 - or sooner." http://www.repryanspain.com/2017/05/op-ed-spain-prepared-to-make-tough.html

With time running out, Democrats resort to old tax and spend playbook. Rather than work together to pass a true balanced budget, Democrats are going back to their old tax and spend playbook.

Every time Republicans asked during negotiations that greater reforms be included, Democrats pulled back and said they’ve gone as far as they can.

In truth, Democrats were merely running out the clock in order to pass their $5.4 billion tax hike.
In an effort to propel the state budget process forward, State Representative Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) sent a letter to Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Thursday calling on her to use the power of her office to force the Illinois General Assembly to adopt a revenue estimate prior to the filing and passage of any spending bills, in order to prevent further damage to the state’s finances and the many social service providers who serve the most vulnerable individuals and families across Illinois. Representative Wheeler’s letter to the Attorney General was co-signed by 39 other House Republican legislators.

In the letter, Representative Wheeler cites several prior court rulings and instances which set precedent for the Attorney General to intervene to ensure the Illinois Constitution is upheld. Both the Constitution and state law require the General Assembly to adopt a revenue estimate on which to base a balanced budget for the forthcoming fiscal year, an action which legislators have failed to take in either of the past two years and haven’t yet done for the coming fiscal year. Read more here.

Fresh thinking will fix Illinois. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno

For too long, Springfield politicians have been stuck in the past. They think the pressing issues of our day — large budget deficits, unfunded public pensions, and dangerously high out-migration — are similar to the ones Illinois has faced in eras past.

Have a problem? Look to the glory days of state government, they say. Just cut a little spending here and there, do a massive tax hike, and another short-term pension fix to top it off. Just remember to keep the overall system intact. They swear it’ll do the trick for a few years, maybe even a decade.
by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno

For too long, Springfield politicians have been stuck in the past. They think the pressing issues of our day — large budget deficits, unfunded public pensions, and dangerously high out-migration — are similar to the ones Illinois has faced in eras past.

Have a problem? Look to the glory days of state government, they say. Just cut a little spending here and there, do a massive tax hike, and another short-term pension fix to top it off. Just remember to keep the overall system intact. They swear it’ll do the trick for a few years, maybe even a decade.

Current and former elected officials may deny it, but the old ways of doing business have been anything but glorious for the people of Illinois. For the past 15 years, state government has been operating with budgets in structural deficit. That’s 15 years of complete and total failure. Fifteen years of the General Assembly failing to meet its most basic constitutional obligation — to pass a balanced budget for the governor to sign into law. Read the rest of the editorial in SJ-R.