July 29, 2015
As Chairwoman of the Senate Revenue Committee and a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I am acutely aware of the importance of our state budget. As legislators, it is our core responsibility to pass a spending plan that allows the state to meet its obligations.
The governor’s spending plan, which relied on more than $2 billion in phantom pension savings and drastic cuts to many programs and services for our most vulnerable, was not called for a vote by its sponsor and is essentially dead. Similarly, the plan passed by the General Assembly and vetoed by the governor is also dead.
I agree with Senate President John Cullerton that it is time to “hit the reset button” on budget negotiations before Illinois’ credit rating is downgraded, causing further fiscal turmoil. Any compromise, however, must be responsible. We cannot solve this crisis by hitting the middle class and those least able to afford it, including actions that:
Increase Property Taxes
The governor proposed cutting the Local Government Distributive Fund by 50 percent – a plan that could lead to higher property taxes and layoffs of police officers, fire fighters and local government employees.
Municipalities in the 40th District would lose more than $15 million under the governor’s plan, including:
• Bourbonnais: -$920,655
• Chicago Heights: -$1,496,096
• Coal City: -$276,083
• Frankfort: -$878,702
• Kankakee: -$1,360,748
Increase College Tuition
The governor’s spending plan cuts higher education funding by more than 30 percent, a move university presidents testified would lead to increased tuition costs, employee layoffs and increased class sizes.
Locally, Governor’s State University would lose more than $7 million under this plan while Prairie State College and Kankakee Community College would also lose a substantial amount.
Cut Child Care
Draconian cuts instituted by the governor on July 1 have greatly reduced the number of new applications to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), which helps working parents pay for the exorbitant cost of child care. Without affordable child care, many parents will be forced to quit their job – likely resulting in higher costs for the state in the form of additional spending on other assistance programs – or leave their children in unregulated and potentially unsafe conditions.
These misplaced priorities would make Illinois less competitive and less compassionate. I stand ready to work with the governor in ending this impasse. I call on him to get back to the negotiating table and work with us in solving this crisis.
In the interim, please contact me and tell me how the budget impasse is affecting you personally. There is nothing more important to me than hearing from my constituents.
Senator Toi Hutchinson
40th District – Illinois