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 Chris Nybo.
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.
“This is not a budget proposal that many of us would like to see, but it’s a proposal that we need to see,” Senator Nybo said. “This budget matches our revenues with our expenditures, but it requires some severe cuts and painful choices to get to that point. The Governor identified key priorities, such as not harming our K-12 schools and maintaining funding for public safety. But that means other areas will have to be impacted.”
Senator Nybo emphasized that Illinois cannot continue down the path of spending money it simply does not have.
“We must live within our means, and that will require sacrifices from many of us who live in this state,” he said. “Of course, it’s important to recognize this is a process that will lead toward a budget approved by the General Assembly and the Governor. That process has now begun.”
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.