Governor Bruce Rauner’s Annual Budget Address last week was a positive approach to the upcoming fiscal year. Continuing on his bipartisan message in his State of the State Address last month, Governor Rauner urged both sides to embrace reform and responsible spending in order to save the state of Illinois. Governor Rauner’s remarks laid out two paths forward, both of which would put Illinois back on the path towards fiscal responsibility. Additionally, the address offered a $55 million increase in funding for K-12 Education along with a 25% increase in Early Childhood Education funding.
In the address Governor Rauner proposed two very reasonable paths forward that increase funding for education while addressing the long-term issues Illinois is currently facing. I commend Governor Rauner for his commitment to increasing education funding. If passed, this proposal would fully fund General State Aid for K-12 Education for the first time in 7 years. By implementing structural reforms, constitutional pension reform, procurement reform, and other cost-saving measures we can continue to fund necessary programs while fixing Illinois’ dismal financial situation. I fully support Governor Rauner’s FY17 budget proposal, and I look forward to discussing the proposal on the Senate floor along with meaningful reforms.
The first path Governor Rauner laid out would involve passing structural reforms through bipartisan legislative action. The second option would involve the General Assembly granting Governor Rauner the ability to make the necessary spending cuts and funding sweeps to ensure vital programs are properly but responsibly funded. The usual way of proposing budgets has been very unsuccessful.
Governor Rauner’s FY16 balanced budget proposal last year was not even considered for passage by Democrats in the General Assembly. We need to acknowledge the fact that this is a crucial year for the state of Illinois. I urge Democratic lawmakers to work with the other side of the aisle and Governor Rauner on the passage of a balanced budget. If Democratic legislators are unwilling to compromise on reforms, we must give Governor Rauner the authority to make the tough but necessary decisions that will bring Illinois’ spending in line with current revenues.
I remain confident in our ability as lawmakers to come together to restore fiscal responsibility to Illinois. The hard-working citizens of this great state deserve meaningful change that will return Illinois to its former economic prosperity.
Senator, 44th District