Representative Bennett shares his concerns about the pressing need for reforms in Illinois that will yield positive results for our budget, our families and our communities. Listen to his comments here.

State Representative Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City) today resoundingly rejected a series of sham budget bills pushed through the Illinois House by Speaker Madigan and the Majority Democrats. Bennett said the Democrats’ proposed budget, crafted behind closed doors, spends $4 billion more than the state will bring in in revenue in Fiscal Year 2016, violating both the Illinois Constitution, and the trust of Illinois families.

“We’re anticipating to bring in $32 billion in revenue next year, but the Democrats’ budget spends more than $36 billion. Not only is that unconstitutional, it’s how they got our state into this mess in the first place,” said Representative Bennett. “We still have several days left in our scheduled spring legislative session. It’s not too late for the Democrats to come back to the table and work with us and with the new Governor on a plan for an honest, balanced budget.”

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"Memorial Day took on an even more special meaning this week for families in our district.  Finally, Marine Private Jack Redman, who lost his life in battle on the island of Tarawa Atoll in the Central Pacific Ocean on November 23rd, 1943, is home in Watseka.  After a 70 effort to bring Jack home, he was finally laid to rest this month in his hometown with full military honors," said Representative Bennett.

"This week, the Illinois House adopted a resolution  I filed honoring Private Jack Redman and his family. Jack’s heroism and his family’s determination are truly inspiring. You can read the resolution here."
State Representative Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City) joined other House Republican freshman
legislators today in backing measures to allow voters impose term limits on the General Assembly. Citing the state’s lingering fiscal crisis, high tax burden, and the sharply partisan, autocratic rule of Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), who has served as Speaker for 30 of the past 32 years, Republicans stressed that term limits are needed to restore accountability to voters.

“We’re in the mess we’re in because a handful of elected officials have put preserving their own power and control above the needs of Illinois families. Speaker Madigan has been in complete control of everything that will be considered - or not considered - in the Illinois House for approximately 30 years. He and Senate President Cullerton have been in the General Assembly for more than 80 years combined, and the impact on our state and our economy speaks for itself,” Representative Bennett said.
State Representative Tom Bennett is taking his office on the road this spring to meet with local residents throughout the 106th district. On Thursday, May 21st, the Livingston County communities of Dwight, Odell and Chatsworth will host Representative Bennett’s traveling office hours at their local public libraries.

“In a district as large and diverse as ours, traveling office hours helps me to keep in touch with constituents from each of the communities, and helps residents who may find it difficult or inconvenient to travel to my district offices,” Representative Bennett said. “I hope everyone in Dwight, Odell and Chatsworth who would like to speak with me or my staff about a problem or idea, or just wants to say hello, will stop by their local library on the 21st.”
Rep. Bennett passed a resolution in the House this week celebrating the life of Clayton Hale, an exceptional young man from the Paxton community who at the young age of 26 recently passed away from cancer of the brain.  Clayton's parents were present in the House gallery for the presentation.

"Although he had suffered much in a variety of ways, he was inspirational, demonstrated an amazing courage and a tremendous attitude upbeat.  Clayton never knew a stranger, always had a smile for others, never complained, never got down.  He was just very likeable in so many ways.  He often liked to go a local bridge in Paxton IL and there watch the trains go by.  The residents of Paxton plan to name the bridge after him.  He touched many lives in his community in a very positive way and left a wonderful legacy to his family and his community," Representative Bennett said.
We're coming down to the wire in Springfield - just a little more than two weeks left in our scheduled spring session and we have a lot of work yet to do on the FY 2016 state budget and other critical issues. Events are unfolding quickly, but I will keep you updated on the latest happenings.


Illinois Supreme Court Strikes Down Pension Reform
The Illinois Supreme Court announced on Friday that SB 1- the Pension Reform Bill passed in December 2013 -  was found Unconstitutional and struck down.

In issuing the ruling, Justices stated the following, “The financial challenges facing state and local governments in Illinois are well known and significant. In ruling as we have today, we do not mean to minimize the gravity of the State’s problems or the magnitude of the difficulty facing our elected representatives. It is our obligation, however, just as it is theirs, to ensure that the law is followed. That is true at all times. It is especially important in times of crisis when, as this case demonstrates, even clear principles and long-standing precedent are threatened. Crisis is not an excuse to abandon the rule of law. It is a summons to defend it. How we respond is the measure of our commitment to the principles of justice we are sworn to uphold.”

 Whether you agree or disagree with the ruling, at least now the Court has spoken, and we can get back to working to rectify our State’s financial situation within the confines of our State Constitution

"We had a Great event Saturday at our Recycling Fair with Senator Barickman in Watseka. It was a wonderful turnout! I was amazed at the number of old TVs, computers, vacuum cleaners, and printers. Thank you to Big R and Best Buy for their support." Rep. Bennett said
State Representative Tom Bennett today said Governor Rauner’s restoring $26 million in grants for human services and public health programs is a step in the right direction. The Governor’s decision to lift the suspensions and restore funding is based on new revenue estimates from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA).

“The latest GOGFA estimates indicate the state will take in $300-500 million more than originally anticipated by the end of the fiscal year. That’s great news, as is the Governor’s announcement that he will now be able to restore funding for programs he had had to cut a few weeks ago,” Representative Bennett said.

In all, more than $21 million in grants will be restored to programs administered by the Department of Human Services including funeral and burial for the indigent, autism and epilepsy services, and addiction prevention. $4.5 million will be restored to programs administered by the Department of Public Health including the Illinois Tobacco Quitline and project Safe Sleep (SIDS).