After months of gridlock, State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Peru) says she was “ecstatic” to vote for a bi-partisan budget plan June 30 that ensures schools will open on time, human service providers will be paid, and critical government services stay operating.
“It is beyond refreshing to have finally reached a bi-partisan compromise on this issue,” Rezin said. “This was one of the most important ‘yes’ votes I have cast while representing the 38th Senate District.”
K-12 education will see its highest investment in the state’s history, an increase of $500 million compared to Fiscal Year 2016. Also, education will be funded at 100 percent for the first time in seven years and every school district, regardless of its make-up, will not lose any funding next year through a hold harmless provision. Lawmakers also approved a new $250 million equity grant to help the state’s poorest school districts.
“I am very pleased schools across the state now have the certainty from Springfield they deserve to open this fall and operate for the entire school year,” Rezin said. “I have said from day one that if we are serious about making our children and our future a top priority, this is a route we must take. We must not pick winners and losers and we must not bailout Chicago Public Schools at the expense of suburban and downstate school districts.”
Road constructions projects are also funded for the entire year.
“This will ensure that the hundreds of transportation projects underway right now will continue uninterrupted,” Rezin said. “This is not only important for the state’s infrastructure and our ability to travel safely, but also keeps 25,000 labor workers on the job. These are very important middle class jobs that require a skilled and trained workforce.”
Lawmakers also agreed on a six month plan, or “stopgap” budget, for the remaining aspects of state government, including more than $700 million for human services.
“Our human service providers can breathe a lot easier today, something they rightfully deserve,” Rezin said. “I believe a top priority – as a society and as a government – must be showing compassion to those who are most vulnerable and need our help.”
The higher education community will receive an additional $1 billion on top of $600 million already approved earlier this year. Community colleges will receive more than $140 million, and MAP grants are funded at $150 million. Rezin says this will provide certainty to schools and students during the entire fall semester.
The budget deal also includes critical funding for state prisons, mental health centers, veterans’ homes, and state parks.
Rezin says she is committed to continuing this bipartisan momentum to work on passing year-long, balanced budgets with critical reforms needed to move Illinois forward and set the future of the state on a track of fiscal stability and economic prosperity for every citizen.
“What the General Assembly did today was responsible and affordable,” Rezin said. “Enough was enough. Good things happen when both parties work together.”