Illinois CapitolPeoria Public Radio - March 7, 2017 | original article

By Brian Mackey

Illinois Senate Democrats are asking state agency heads to answer for Governor Bruce Rauner’s decision to pull votes off the “grand bargain.”  The governor’s own budget proposal depends on the grand bargain, otherwise it’s short by $4.6 billion.  

At one of several similar hearings, state Senator Patricia Van Pelt of Chicago grilled Public Health director Nirav Shah.  She asked if he could suggest cuts to help make up the shortfall, but Shah declined.

VAN PELT: “So are you saying you can’t cut? I’m asking you for one cut. Can you give me one cut?"

SHAH: “I’m not prepared to discuss any. It is worth noting that our proposed budget, as it stands, does contain several budgetary reductions.”

Shah went on to outline about $3.8 million dollars in cuts, a tiny fraction of the deficit.  Rauner says he could support the grand bargain if it was a “good deal for taxpayers.” But Democrats say they’ve already negotiated away as much as they can.

02282017AM03822SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) issued the following statement in response to Governor Rauner’s interference in yesterday’s attempt at passing a budget deal:

“Governor Rauner once again proved that he does not want the state’s budget crisis to be resolved. His interference in yesterday’s efforts to pass the Senate’s grand bargain legislation shows that he would rather play politics and continue the budget impasse than do his job and pass a balanced budget. Because of the governor’s destructive actions, human service organizations across the state will continue struggling to keep their doors open while our most vulnerable residents are left to fall through the cracks.”


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Van Pelt headshotSPRINGFIELD – Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) voted today for a supplemental budget solution that restores funding for human service organizations and higher education. The legislation authorizes spending for the second half of the current fiscal year.

“I’m proud to be part of the bipartisan group of senators who voted to restore funding for MAP grants, technical education programs and important human services that help reduce recidivism rates, treat addiction and provide youth employment,” Van Pelt said. “Investing in these programs is the key to ensuring our neighborhoods are safe and our communities are strong.”

The stopgap budget expired Jan. 1, leaving public universities, addiction treatment centers, senior programs, mental health providers, programs for victims of sexual assault, youth services and breast and cervical cancer screening programs without state funding. This has forced many organizations to cut back on services or shut down completely. Senate Bill 6 would ensure organizations are paid for services rendered. It also appropriates funds for state worker pay.

Senate Bill 6 is part of a budget and reform package of legislation currently being considered in the Senate.

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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) issued the following statement in response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s annual budget address:

“For the third year in a row, the governor failed to fulfill his constitutional duty to propose a balanced state budget,” Van Pelt said. “Governor Rauner’s lack of leadership and ownership shows that he’s not willing to make fixing Illinois’ budget crisis his problem. As a result, human service programs that provide opportunities and assistance to those in need will continue to be underfunded. And while I appreciate his calls to fund public safety and criminal justice reform efforts, he has spent the last two years talking, not doing. It’s time for the governor to put his money where his mouth is and finally take action to fund human service programs and enact meaningful criminal justice reform.”


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