As of this writing, the state is beginning its 11th month without a complete budget for the 2016 Fiscal Year, and we are days away from the deadline for passing a budget for the next fiscal year. Though House Democrats continue fighting to fund critical state services, including breast cancer screenings, in-home care for the elderly, meals for home bound seniors, and higher education, as well as funding for victims of child abuse and sexual assault, legislative Republicans and Gov. Rauner block our efforts.
While House Democrats’ priority has been to pass a comprehensive, full-fiscal year budget using a balanced approach that includes spending cuts but does not decimate needed services, Gov. Rauner’s priority puts his personal agenda first and attacks the wages and standard of living of the middle-class. His insistence on passing his personal agenda has been the single roadblock to finding a true bipartisan budget solution.
However, since March 26, 2015, Gov. Rauner has approved six budget proposals that did not include any part of his personal agenda. This reaffirms my previous statements that when the governor sets aside his personal agenda that hurts middle-class families, we can make progress on the state’s most important issue. The people of Illinois want to see progress. They want to see a comprehensive full-year budget. I, too, am committed to passing comprehensive budgets for Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017. I also hope the governor will look at his recent budgetary actions and see that we can come together to find reasonable solutions when he sets aside his personal agenda that will hurt middle-class families and has nothing to do with the state budget.
Michael J. Madigan, Speaker, Illinois House of Representatives