Unacceptable not having a state budget

4 13 17

To the editor:

Two Years. Illinois has been operating without a budget for nearly two years. It’s unacceptable. However, the fact remains that Democrats have the votes to end it on their own – if they want to. Democrats enjoy large majorities in both the Illinois House of Representatives and State Senate. Yet, instead of working with us to pass a budget, or passing one on their own; they’d rather point the finger at the Governor for their own failure to do their job.

Don’t listen to their excuses. Speaker Madigan has never, in 32 years as Speaker, used a governor’s proposed budget as a basis for his budget. He has always done it his way. The responsibility to pass a budget lies with the General Assembly. The State Constitution is clear, “The General Assembly by law shall make appropriations for all expenditures of public funds by the State. Appropriations for a fiscal year shall not exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that year.”

I have consistently made clear that I’m ready and willing to work with my democratic colleagues to find agreement on a balanced budget that fixes the long-term issues facing our state while respecting the priorities of both Republicans and Democrats.

Nonetheless, Democrats recently proposed yet another “stopgap” spending plan; not a budget. A budget balances spending with projected revenue, while prioritizing the needs of vital social services, state universities, community colleges and other priorities, without adding to the state’s current $12.9 Billion backlog of past-due bills.

It is disappointing, but not surprising, that Democrats are trying to ram through another stopgap spending plan instead of passing a truly balanced budget. This shows us that House Democrats do not intend to get a budget done before 2019. That is unacceptable. Our colleges,social service providers, and entire state deserve better. Their plan does nothing to address the state’s long term challenges and simply strings them along a few more months.

Why are we not balancing our budget? Why are we doing nothing to grow the economy, create jobs, and save our state universities and community colleges from the brink of collapse? Why will the House Democrats not work across the aisle? These questions deserve answers from the Democrats who control the Illinois House and Senate.

We need to work together to pass a balanced state budget, period.

State Representative Avery Bourne