Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Update

Dear Resident,
Today, Illinois began the 2016 fiscal year without a budget for the year beginning July 1.
Several weeks ago, in an effort to fund government, Democratic members forwarded a spending plan to the Governor that included a balanced approach of reducing state spending while funding services for our state's most vulnerable populations.
Unfortunately, the Governor chose to veto the majority of this plan, with the exception of the education budget, including funding for child care, energy assistance for low income individuals, funding to allow the elderly to remain in their homes and Medicaid funding for the working poor. These budget items were cut as the Governor and his Republican allies seek to enact radical, non-budgetary policy changes having nothing to do with our state's budget.
In an effort to fund critical services covering our most vulnerable and various public safety initiatives, today, in the Illinois House I supported legislation, HB 4190, see details HERE, to provide one month of funding for critical, essential services, including childcare services, funding for in-home and community based services and meals for seniors, services for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled and salaries for state troopers. Unfortunately, this proposal to provide emergency funding for these critical services failed because it did not receive any Republican support.
The Governor has indicated he intends to drag this overtime session on for the entire summer in order to pass the radical reforms he seeks which will harm working families. As you know, I support creating an environment that encourages economic growth and the expansion of our middle class. However, I do not support forwarding an agenda that disproportionately impacts our state's most vulnerable to advance a non-budget agenda. Recently, the Governor indicated "a shutdown of state government is worth the pain if it yields fundamental business changes in Illinois."
I disagree. I don't believe we should balance our budget on the backs of the most vulnerable of our community, nor should funding for needed services be held hostage for non-budgetary items. I will continue to fight to protect our middle class, the priorities they hold most dear and the funding necessary to protect our most vulnerable. Please join me by calling Gov. Rauner at (312) 814-2121 or (217) 782-0244 and asking him to focus on passing a budget that takes a balanced approach while providing services to and protecting our state's most vulnerable.
Mary Ellen, there is a great deal of confusion regarding the continuation of services and what will happen with state government over the days ahead, to address your concerns and questions, my office will remain open while I continue to work in Springfield to fight for a budget for fiscal year 2016 that protects working families throughout our communities. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at (773) 783-8800 or at RepSims34@gmail.com should you need any additional information.
Warmest regards,
Elgie R. Sims, Jr.
State Representative - 34th District

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