Senate passes balanced budget, without tax hike
On May 30, the Senate voted 56-2 to pass a $38 billion spending plan for Fiscal Year 2019.
The budget passed by the Senate cuts more than $1 billion in spending; delivers $350 million more in K-12 school funding through the evidence-based model; boosts early childhood education by $50 million; cuts $445 million in pension liability; and rejects a proposed pay increase for lawmakers.
This budget also includes needed capital:
-Fully-funds the Governor’s Fiscal Year 2019 capital program.
-Includes an additional $350 million over the previous year for K-12 schools
-Includes $2.5 billion for IDOT’s road program, which will create jobs and improve roads.
-Provides $500 million for the University of Illinois Discovery Partners’ Institute (DPI).
- Includes $53 million for first-year costs to construct a new Quincy Veterans Home.
-Allocates $600 million for statewide deferred maintenance, with $100 million of this amount going toward needs at institutions of Higher Education.
A supplemental spending bill for Fiscal Year 2018 will also fund agency operations, including $405 million for the Department of Corrections. It also includes $63 million for AFSCME back pay.
Fiscal Year 2019 runs from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019.
“Passing a balanced, bipartisan budget is a big step for the state of Illinois. I look forward to the budget process next year and I'm optimistic we will be able to dedicate a larger percentage of the revenue toward paying down the pension liability and backlog of bills," said Senator Weaver. "The reality is that in a blue state, with a Democrat supermajority in the Senate, this was a pretty good deal for the taxpayers. I’d like to thank the Governor and his team for helping to get us here. Now moving forward we have to take this bipartisan momentum and keep it going toward real action on the types of reforms that will help grow jobs and businesses, cut government costs, and provide tax relief to the families of this state.”
Senate honors Dixon officer who stopped school shooting
Honoring the quick thinking and brave actions of the Dixon, Illinois, school resource officer who thwarted a school shooting two weeks ago, Gov. Bruce Rauner proclaimed May 30, 2018, Officer Mark Dallas Day in Illinois.
The Governor and local lawmakers met with Dallas and his family, and members of the Dixon Police Department and Lee County Sheriff’s Office, on May 30. The Senate and the House of Representatives also introduced Officer Dallas in their respective chambers, thanked him, and presented him with a legislative resolution and proclamation.
On May 16, 2018, Dallas confronted an armed former student who had fired a gun at Dixon High School where students were gathered for a graduation rehearsal. As a result of Dallas’ decisive action, no students were harmed.
Dallas has 24 years of law enforcement experience, serving 15-years on the Dixon Police Department and the last five years as the school resource officer for Dixon High school.
On May 29th, Senator Weaver welcomed the State Champion Dunlap Girls Track and Field team to the Senate.
Bipartisan working group announces higher education reforms
After months of study about the future of Illinois’ higher education system, the Higher Education Working Group announced a package of comprehensive reforms on May 29.
Higher education in Illinois is facing many challenges, including: college costs; enrollment shifts resulting from increasing out-migration and changing needs of college students who are older, parenting, and working; establishing effective and forward-looking governance of Illinois’ higher education system.
The Working Group has developed a series of legislative initiatives to strengthen Illinois’ colleges and universities, making them more attractive and affordable for students across the state for many years to come.
Governor announces $11 billion infrastructure plan
On May 29, Gov. Rauner announced a plan today to invest more than $11 billion in the state’s roads and bridges over the next six years, including $2.2 billion of state and federal funding in the upcoming fiscal year.
The Illinois Department of Transportation Multi-Year Proposed Highway Improvement Program will focus on projects that provide the greatest economic benefit to communities and take advantage of long-term strategies that save money over time.
Based on current funding levels, the FY2019-2024 Proposed Highway Improvement Program aims to improve a total of 1,945 miles of miles of road and 525 bridges maintained by the state. The multi-year program also includes funding for upgrades to more than 750 miles of local roads and 922,933 square feet of local bridges.