Illinois General Assembly Sends Budget to Governor

In the past I rejected budgets that would spend more, tax more and not fix what was fundamentally wrong with the state. This year I voted for a budget that is balanced, funds priorities and does not contain a tax increase.
We began this year’s budget process with three common-sense requests:

1. The budget must be balanced. We cannot spend more than the revenue we expect to bring in. We must live within our means.

2. The budget must cover the entire fiscal year. No short term fixes or partial budgets just to get by.

3. No tax increases. Illinoisans have already been hit hard by two recent tax increases in the last few years and simply cannot endure yet another one.

I am delighted to report that we were able to successfully negotiate our requests and fund our priorities, especially education. The FY 2019 budget:

• Fully funds the new bipartisan K-12 Education funding formula. This will result in more financial support for schools across Illinois and reduce reliance on local property taxes.
• Increases funding for Early Childhood Education that keeps Illinois on track to receive millions in federal matching dollars for these programs.
• Provides for a merit-based scholarship called AIM HIGH that will keep our best and brightest high school graduates in Illinois to attend community colleges and state universities. It also funds MAP grants to help students attending Illinois colleges and universities.
• Offers new pension reform measures like voluntary buyouts and capping end-of-career salary increases that cause pension spiking, which should help school districts control costs.
• Increases funding by 2% to universities and colleges to help reduce the pressure to raise tuition.

The budget also funds a capital plan and road plan that will take care of road projects, park maintenance, and maintenance of state building as well cover the cost of building a new veterans home.

Additionally, the passage of a budget means organizations that provide services to those most in need will receive their funding so they can continue their good work.

For years the majority party in control of Springfield has passed unbalanced budgets that spent billions of dollars more than we took in. While this budget is not perfect, it is balanced and a product of compromise and negotiation. I will continue to advocate for our district in Springfield.

While I am proud to support this budget, the financial future of Illinois will not be secure until we pass real reforms to make Illinois more competitive so we can create more jobs, stem the loss of population and reduce property taxes.

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