SPRINGFIELD— Lawmakers came together on June 30 to pass an affordable, bipartisan stopgap budget for the state of Illinois, ensuring that schools will have the funds needed to open on time in the fall and critical government services, transportation projects and higher education receive necessary funding to continue operating, according to State Senator Matt Murphy (R-Palatine).
“For months, Illinois taxpayers and students have anxiously watched as their schools and tax dollars were used as bargaining chips in a political war that appeared to have no foreseeable end,” said Murphy. “However, today lawmakers showed that political games can be set aside in order to prioritize the needs of our state before political agendas.”
The bipartisan compromise includes a proposal to fully fund K-12 education for the first time in seven years, including a “hold harmless” provision that ensures schools receive at least as much funding for the 2016/17 school year as they did in the 2015/16 school year. The plan also includes a new $250 million equity grant to help the state’s poorest school districts.
“This proposal provides for our schools and students without placing the burden of a bailout for Chicago Public Schools on the backs of suburbanites,” said Murphy. “I’ve seen enough suburban taxpayer’ dollars funneled into a failing system that refuses reforms. The special deals should end here.”
In addition to the 12-month, fully funded K-12 education budget, the proposal also directs full-year appropriations totaling over $13 billion towards transportation costs and projects, safeguarding approximately 25,000 jobs and the expected continuation of more than 800 active transportation projects.
“This is a plan that Illinois can realistically afford now,” said Murphy. “Through reforms and compromise, we can protect our students and those most vulnerable in our communities without saddling taxpayers with a massive tax hike.”
The compromise reached June 30 also approved a six-month, stopgap budget package that directs over $700 million to human service programs and $1 billion in additional funds for universities, community colleges and MAP grants, adding to the $600 million approved for higher education costs earlier this spring.
A number of additional programs, including prisons, mental health facilities, veterans’ homes, and state parks will also receive critical funding needed to continue operation until January.
“We proved today that party affiliation doesn’t have to dictate compromise,” said Murphy. “Lawmakers can work together to find responsible and affordable solutions that provide for our state and protect our taxpayers.”