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Budget Response

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

Today Governor Bruce Rauner addressed the Illinois General Assembly to present his proposal for the Illinois budget.

I appreciate and support the components of the proposal that increase funding for elementary and secondary education, as well as restore the Child Care Assistance Program. However, the Governor's plan also includes severe budget cuts to health and human services, such as cuts to mental health, disability services and other areas which might "save" money in the very short term, but will cost us much more down the road both in human and financial terms. This might improve the bottom line, but at what cost to our most vulnerable citizens?

The proposed cuts to higher education are extreme and will add significant financial hurdles for parents throughout Illinois trying to put their children through college. The proposed 31.5 percent across the board cut to Illinois public universities will lead to huge increases in tuition costs--putting college out of reach for many Illinois students.

Likewise, the Governor's proposals to cut mass transit are drastic and would decimate the already-underfunded public transit system in Chicago that so many of us rely on. His proposal slashes $121 million of the RTA budget, the majority of which goes to the CTA.

The fiscal challenges the state is facing are not new, and along with colleagues on both sides of the aisle, I continue to look for ways to cut spending in a responsible manner and streamline government services where possible. The Governor's unwillingness to consider new revenue streams, however, is unlikely to put us on a path toward fiscal stability. We need to ensure our policies grow and maintain Illinois jobs and increase opportunities for economic development.

The Governor's proposal is only the first step in what is sure to be a lengthy budget discussion. I will be sending a quick survey in my next newsletter for your feedback. Until then, please contact me directly if you have any specific questions or comments on the budget, or any other matter of concern to you or your family.

Thank you,