Providing Illinois social services with critical funding, and utilizing proposals currently available to fund higher education, were part of a proposal introduced today by Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), both of whom called on Democrat leaders to stop playing games and begin working in a bipartisan manner to achieve results for residents of Illinois.
“Today, we are introducing legislation that will fund our most critical social services,” said Leader Radogno (R-Lemont). “The social safety net in Illinois is at a breaking point and we need to stop playing games and bring everyone together to demonstrate to Illinois taxpayers that we can put partisanship aside and do what is right for the most vulnerable in our state.”
The proposal introduced by Leaders Radogno and Durkin would fund Illinois’ most critical social services. The proposal, contains $433 million of General Revenue Funds (GRF) and $858 million of Other State Funds, which totals nearly $1.3 billion.
Senate Bill 3418 would support:
Seniors in the Community Care Program;
Those with mental health issues and developmental disabilities;
Homeless youth, homeless vets and homelessness prevention in general;
Programs like Adult Redeploy that that are critical to our criminal justice reform efforts;
Addiction treatment, sexual assault services and prevention; and
The Special Olympics
The Republican Leaders also reaffirmed their support for funding higher education, and noted there are a range of options available to secure funding, such as using procurement reform savings, using excess special funds, and giving the Governor authority to move money around. Unfortunately, notes Leader Durkin, there’s been zero consideration on these ideas from the Speaker. In fact, as Chicago State University prepares to close their doors, Democrat leaders won’t even come to a meeting to discuss bipartisan proposals to fix the problem.
“House Republicans are very concerned about funding for higher education, and we’ve tried to jumpstart that conversation by introducing new ideas on how to generate taxpayer savings to show taxpayers that we’re pursuing a way to pay for things,” said Leader Durkin. “There are a range of options out there we should be exploring, and we owe it to the people, and students, of Illinois to have an open and bipartisan dialogue. The time to act is now.”
Both Radogno and Durkin believe that comprehensive pension reform can generate enormous taxpayer savings. Governor Rauner has put forward a number of immediate changes to the pension systems that would generate hundreds of millions of dollars in savings for Fiscal Year 2017 – changes that are not subject to court challenge – savings that can be banked immediately. These are items like dealing with salary spiking and capping pension subsidies for salaries over $180,000 – and stabilizing the actuarial projections.
However, Illinois needs more than that.
“We need structural change for the long-term, and as the Governor has said, we’re just waiting for President Cullerton to submit his consideration plan,” said Radogno. “Together, some of the immediate changes from the Governor’s budget and the long-term changes from the Senate President can pay for this bill and – more importantly – fund a robust social safety net for years to come.”
Both Republican Leaders echoed the Governor’s call for a full leaders’ meeting, and are encouraging the Democrat Leaders in both the House and Senate to attend.