We have said all along that it was the plan of the Speaker and the majority party to only pass stopgap spending plans and allow our state to simply limp along to get to the next election – and their most recent actions prove that.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen all of this before. Typically, right before a break or deadline, the majority party decides it’s best to play politics and passes a spending plan that never balances or fails to address the real issues of our state so that they can go home and pretend that they’ve done their job.
Our students, community colleges and universities and social services providers deserve long-term certainty. The House Democrat plan does nothing to address their long term problems and concerns and simply strings them along.
The funding that Democrats are proposing isn’t even close to what vital programs need. For example, their spending plan includes only 36% of the funding for domestic violence shelters, only 36% for infant mortality programs and only 38% for the senior meals program.
To make matters worse, their plan would spend $1.5 million on a program in Chicago that has already been disbanded and employees laid off and more than $500,000 on two programs that are currently ineligible to receive funds due to noncompliance issues with reporting of how state funds were previously spent.
Instead of stop gaps and governing through piecemeal “solutions”, we need to make those who depend on assistance from the State whole. That can only be done through a balanced budget.
So let’s call this what it is. House Democrats do not intend to get a budget done before 2019. That is unacceptable.
Republicans have said over and over again that we are ready and willing to work with our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to find an agreement on a budget that balances and fixes the long term issues facing our state while respecting the priorities of both Republicans and Democrats. But so far Democrats have refused to even begin those discussions.
Republicans have been very clear about our priorities in a budget:
- A budget that actually balances
- Property tax relief for families and businesses
- Political reform (term limits and fair maps) to restore accountability and trust to government
- Pension reform to save the state billions of dollars
- And other reforms (workers’ comp) to make Illinois competitive, grow our economy and most importantly create jobs