Rauner Signs Education Budget; Says No to Rest of Unconstitutional Budget

On Wednesday, June 24, Governor Rauner signed the elementary and secondary education component of the Fiscal Year 2016 State budget, taking our children’s education out of the crossfire in Springfield. While HB 3763 does not increase education spending by as much as the governor’s proposal, it does increase K-12 education funding by $244 million and early childhood education funding by $25 million.

“Education is the most important thing we do as a community. I would have done more for our schoolchildren, but I am taking action today to ensure our teachers are paid and our schools are open and funded,” Governor Rauner said. “I refuse to allow Speaker Madigan and the legislators he controls to hold our schools hostage as part of their plan to protect the political class and force a tax hike on the middle class without real reform.”

House Republicans strongly support the effort to increase education funding. However, we stood in opposition to the original bill because it was rammed though by the Democratic majority, which passed 19 other budget bills that would spend nearly $4 billion more than projected revenue in the next fiscal year. That fact hasn’t changed, and the budget as a whole is unsustainable. The State of Illinois cannot continue to spend more than it takes in from our hardworking taxpayers.

That being said, we are glad education won’t be caught up in the Springfield stalemate and that our school children will not be held hostage over this budget battle. Schools will open on time, teachers will be paid and education will get a needed boost in funding.

Governor Rauner vetoes unbalanced, unconstitutional budget; cites $4 billion deficit.
Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the bulk of the Illinois budget Thursday that the Democratic-controlled General Assembly sent him, increasing the likelihood that some state services could be disrupted when the fiscal year begins next week.

The new governor, in constant battle with powerful lawmakers for six weeks, announced he had vetoed 19 budget bills because even Democrats acknowledge they fall short on revenue by $3 billion to $4 billion.

"For too long, the state of Illinois has made spending promises that exceed available revenues, relied on accounting gimmicks to make budgets appear balanced, used borrowing and cost deferral strategies to push costs into the future, and delayed payments to vendors," Rauner said in his veto message.

With a June 30 deadline for approving a fiscal year 2016 budget, Rauner continues to insist on "structural" changes to the business and political climates in Illinois before dealing with the opposing party on spending. Democrats want a tax increase, along with strategic spending cuts, in order to continue what they call vital state services. Read more on ABCNews.

For the past month, House Republicans have gone to Springfield each week hoping that the Chicago Democratic leaders who have held up the budget process were going to finally make it to the negotiating table. Instead we were subjected to a series of disingenuous House hearings intended to do little more than derail the process.

The same Chicago leaders who brought service providers, schools, hospitals, nursing homes and prisons to the brink with a shorted budget last year are attempting to do it again.

Democratic leaders could have come to the table months ago with their concessions to Governor Rauner, who has backed off a portion of his agenda with absolutely zero reciprocation from the other side.

Now is the time for the Democratic leaders to put the interests of Illinois taxpayers first and work with the Governor and Republican legislators to pass a truly balanced budget that protects our working families, seniors and school children.