Senator Collins, Van Pelt, Lightford, Martinez

SPRINGFIELD — Months after Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a measure that would have secured funding for Chicago Public Schools, Illinois Senate Democrats rejected his attempt to promise $215 million to the school system without any funding source to provide it.

“This measure would have made yet another promise to Chicago students without taking the necessary steps to ever follow through on it,” said Sen. Jacqueline Collins, D-Chicago. “We already approved a measure last year – which the governor saw fit to veto – that would have addressed this very problem in a responsible way, with the necessary funding. As it is, this is another broken promise in the making.”

Gov. Rauner vetoed a plan last year, approved by the Illinois General Assembly, which provided funding for Chicago Public Schools and included the necessary revenue.

“Just because Bruce Rauner didn’t do his homework doesn’t mean Chicago teachers, students and parents should suffer for his mistake,” said Senator Patricia Van Pelt, D-Chicago. “Maybe he should do his vetoes in pencil until he’s sure of his answers. It would have prevented the chaos he’s caused for our schools.”

“The governor put himself in a position where he feels pressured to help CPS, and the way out is offering a long term solution, not this halfhearted attempt,” said Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, D-Maywood. “Our children have a right to a quality education and it takes real commitment to deliver that.”

Democratic members rejected the proposal when it came before the Senate Executive Committee Wednesday. While the measure would mandate the state to pay CPS, it would provide no revenue and no firm date of disbursement.

“What we need is real solutions to make sure CPS gets its fair share of state dollars,” said Majority Caucus Whip Iris Martinez. “This legislation was an attempt to solve the governor’s public relations problems with CPS, but what it won’t do is get more dollars into the classroom. CPS teachers, students and administrators deserve equitable funding, not unfunded and false promises from the Republicans.”

Senate Democrats have included a comprehensive plan on CPS funding as part of the grand bargain legislative package. So far, that provision has not met with any Republican support. The measure remains under consideration in the Senate.

Category: Press Releases

Over the course of a week, more than a dozen Rauner administration cabinet directors were called to testify in Senate committees and asked to come up with budget cuts to reduce the $5 billion hole in the governor's budget. Every state agency across the board would need to cut spending by 20 percent to achieve the balanced budget the governor wants.

Public Health Committee Chairwoman Patricia Van Pelt questioned Public Health Director Nirav Shah and asked him to provide a list of potential cuts from his department. Here is what Sen. Van Pelt had to say during a press conference with Senate committee chairs.

Category: News

budget impasseWTAX News Radio - March 10, 2017 | original article

Who says there’s trouble with the Grand Bargain?

“To see this much being done this quickly,” says State Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) “really says something about the urgency of this and the commitment of the Senate president and the Senate Republican leader to get this done.”

It’s almost as if voting on the multi-bill package hasn’t stalled out, with Democrats accusing Gov. Bruce Rauner of intimidating Republicans into withdrawing their support — after Rauner publicly praised the effort and even recorded a campaign-style video taking credit for it.

“I don’t know if the governor is going to just run this down to the end of the year, and then pack his bags and leave Illinois, but the citizens of Illinois, the taxpayers will pay that bill. We will pay that bill of $11 million a day.” said State Sen. Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago). “It’s outrageous! So the Grand Bargain is still alive in our hearts, and we are just waiting for the Republicans to come on board.”

State Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) wants the theme of the week to be: the Rauner cabinet can’t identify any cuts, even after the governor has advocated spending cuts.

“Time and again,” Manar said of this week’s committee hearings, “agency directors told us in very certain terms, that they cannot cut their budgets any deeper than they already have been.”

Read more...

Category: News

State Seal of IllinoisNPR Illinois - March 8, 2017 | original article

By Brian Mackey

Illinois senators are putting put Governor Bruce Rauner’s agency directors under the magnifying glass.

It’s part of the ongoing fallout from Rauner’s move to block the bipartisan "grand bargain” — meant to end Illinois’ 20-month budget stalemate.

Rauner pulled Republican votes off the grand bargain — he’s holding out for what he calls a "good deal for taxpayers." But without the bargain, the governor's own budget proposal has a $4.6 billion deficit.

In a series of hearings, Democrats put this math problem to Rauner’s agency heads.

Here’s Sen. Patricia Van Pelt of Chicago with Dr. Nirav Shah, of the Illinois Department of Public Health.

VAN PELT: "Can you tell me how you would reduce your budget by $22 million? If you can’t you just can’t."

SHAH: “Our proposed budget does not contain $22 million of cuts, so …"

VAN PELT: “Thank you."

Senate Democrats say there’s a reason Rauner was shut out of negotiations. They say they’ve been working on the deal for months, and have given up as much as they can.

Category: News
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