032415CM0975 r“If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're mis-informed.” Mark Twain said this, and could just as well have been speaking about the Illinois media covering this week’s work by the General Assembly to negotiate with the governor on a budget.

This week, the Senate and the House both voted on measures to provide one-month funding for core state services to provide more time for negotiations for a full year budget. The governor’s response was that he would veto this offer as he has our full 2016 budget, with the exception of the education budget we sent him which he signed without one Republican voting for that bill.

The media’s coverage of these developments? That we failed to pass anything. This is totally inaccurate. The Senate passed a measure to shield Illinois' most vulnerable residents from the impact of Gov. Rauner's disastrous decision to veto most of the state budget the General Assembly sent to him last month.

I voted for the Senate’s emergency measure to prevent interruptions in services to people with developmental disabilities, wards of the state, abused and neglected children, senior citizens who need in-home assistance, veterans, individuals receiving addiction treatment and parents who rely on WIC for help purchasing infant formula and food for their young children. The one-month stopgap budget would also pay prison guards, parole officers who monitor sex offenders, state troopers, disaster preparedness personnel and the National Guard. Finally, it would allow the state to continue reimbursing doctors, hospitals and clinics for providing Medicaid services, including adult dental care, that were covered under last year's budget.

This proposal was merely a one-month budget for essential programs to continue while the overall negotiations continue. Yet Republicans in the House and Senate refused to vote even for this basic, stopgap measure, and the governor has said he will not sign it if sent to his desk. While the Senate passed Senate Bill 2040, the House fell short of the votes needed to approve an identical piece of legislation, House Bill 4190.

I urge the governor to change course and sign the stopgap budget while negotiations continue. Please call him at (312) 814-2121 or email him here to tell him not to penalize vulnerable people who did not create the state's fiscal difficulties or contribute to the current standoff.

I am working every day for a responsible budget that balances prudent spending with the revenue needed to fund important state functions, from education to health care to public safety. I believe our first duty is to protect those whom the governor seems determined to hold hostage to his inflexible demands.

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Springfield Office:
Senator 10th District
127 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-1035
(217) 782-2331 FAX
 
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Chicago, IL 60646
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