Two weeks after giving his initial assessment of the challenges facing Illinois, Governor Bruce Rauner unveiled a tough, but necessary plan to put the state’s fiscal house in order, according to Senator Tim Bivins.
Governor Rauner outlined his $31.5 billion budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2016 to a joint session of Illinois lawmakers February 18 in the House of Representatives. Fiscal Year 2016 runs from July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016.
“For the first time in many years, we have been given an honest assessment of Illinois’ finances, and the ugly reality of our state’s fiscal condition after 12 years of a tax-and-spend free-for-all approach to government,” Senator Bivins said. “It’s time to turn things around and this is the first step.”
The 45th District Senator said many of Governor Rauner’s tough decisions stem from the cumulative effect of 12 years of tax-and-spend government under former Governor Rod Blagojevich and former Governor Pat Quinn.
“I am a strong advocate for fiscal responsibility. In the Senate, I have consistently been under my district office budget since 2008 – by as much as 34% one year. What we did not spend, we returned to the state’s General Revenue Fund,” Senator Bivins said. “The money spent by public officials is provided by the hard-working taxpayers, and we all have a responsibility to manage it prudently.”
Highlights of Gov. Rauner’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget include:• Eliminates $6.2 billion structural deficit.
• Relies on no tax increases or borrowing.
• Includes $500 million to pay down unpaid bill backlog.
• Increases K-12 education spending by roughly $300 million
• Increases early childhood education funding by $25 million.
• Most money for education general state aid in Illinois history.
• Enacts true pension and benefit reform, saving the state nearly $3 billion in the first year.
• Looks at the state as a whole and treats all regions fairly.
• Focuses on core functions of government and delivers essential services.
Invests in our children
• The budget increases funding for early childhood and pre-K-12 education.
• Leaves intact health and human services programs for children, including children of immigrants.
• Foster care services for children are not reduced.
• Child care dollars are prioritized to serve the youngest children to prepare them for school.
Prioritizes care for the most vulnerable
• Programs that serve our aging or disabled populations will focus on those with higher needs, rather than those most able to care for themselves.
Promotes public safety and reforms criminal justice system
• Increases corrections and juvenile justice budgets in order to improve conditions in state prisons and reduce the number of offenders in Illinois.
Focuses on programs that serve the entire state
• Public health and state police laboratories, licensing and permitting functions, inspections and statewide road maintenance were prioritized over services to specific populations.