Governor Rauner signs education budget bill, vetoes the rest of the unbalanced budget

Governor Rauner this past week signed the elementary and secondary education component of the Fiscal Year 2016 State budget, taking our children’s education out of the crossfire in Springfield.  While House Bill 3763 does not increase education spending by as much as the governor’s proposal, it does increase K-12 education funding by $244 million and early childhood education funding by $25 million. I am glad that education won’t be caught up in the Springfield stalemate and that our school children will not be held hostage over this budget battle.  Schools will open on time, teachers will be paid and education will get a needed boost in funding.  

After signing the education funding bill, the Governor promptly vetoed the bulk of the unbalanced budget (19 additional budget bills) that the Democratic-controlled General Assembly sent him, increasing the likelihood that some state services could be disrupted when the fiscal year begins on July 1st. As I’ve written before, the budget speaker Madigan passed, as a whole, spends $4 billion more than the state is expected to take in in revenue, which is how we got into this mess in the first place. We can’t continue to spend money we don’t have.

Governor Rauner continues to insist on "structural" changes to the business and political climates in Illinois before dealing with the opposing party on spending.

Speaker Madigan and many in his caucus want another tax increase.  Just a few years ago they passed the largest tax increase in Illinois history which brought in $26 billion in additional revenue at the expense of working families. They said the income tax increase would solve our budget problems. What happened? Jobs and families left Illinois. Unemployment is up, we still have a $5 billion backlog of unpaid bills and the worst funded pension systems in the nation. The tax increase cost working families $26 billion and left our economy and our budget in worse shape than before it was passed. It makes no sense to repeat that mistake. Reforms must come first.

Representative Bennett toured the tornado and wind destruction in Coal City, and helped out at the Call Center.

"Many houses are damaged. Lots of good people are working long hours to put help things back together; getting power back on, protecting the community, providing food, starting to rebuild. The town is pulling together. Thank you to the village of Diamond for helping and jumping right in to support" Representative Bennett said.
House meets, but does not discuss budget crisis…Senate sends Governor unconstitutional spending bills

With the clock ticking down to the June 30th deadline to have a new budget in place for our new fiscal year which begins on July 1st, Speaker Madigan is continuing to call the House into session each week…but not to discuss the budget.

The Illinois House held a one-day session in Springfield last Tuesday, but the impending budget crisis wasn’t even brought up.  Instead, the Speaker devoted the day to hearing testimony on the proposed reorganization of the powers and responsibilities of the State’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).  Yes, DCEO is an important agency. It’s responsible for job creation and retention in a variety of industries throughout Illinois. But without a new budget in place, state aid for schools, funding for services and paychecks for state workers will come to a halt next month.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, President Cullerton last week removed the temporary hold he had placed on the unconstitutional, unbalanced spending plan he and the Speaker had pushed through the General Assembly last month and began sending the bills to the Governor. The plan spends $4 billion more than we will take in in revenue next year. Spending money we don’t have is how we got into this mess in the first place.

Inaction is unacceptable. Sending the Governor a sham budget is also unacceptable. Right now, we need to be devoting our full attention to getting a reasonable balanced budget in place, and adopting fiscal reforms to help us stay on a fiscally-responsible path.
   
Honor Flight from Springfield to Washington D. C. and back home to Springfield!

Rep. Bennett helped welcome home WWII and Korean War Veterans Bob Mathias of Rankin and Roy Elliott of Paxton. Thank you for your service!
Several initiatives spearheaded by State Representative Tom Bennett this spring are poised to become law. Bennett (R-Gibson City) said today that measures awaiting the Governor’s signature include local initiatives to help keep school students and staff safe from violence and to protect seniors from financial exploitation.