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Welcome

Welcome to my website. I hope to make this site a very interactive tool that allows you, as a constituent, to communicate with me, stay updated on legislation and happenings in Springfield and find resources in our district. Using this site, you can join my email list, read my e-mail updates online, see the latest legislative news, view upcoming neighborhood events and contact me.

I welcome any questions, concerns or suggestions you may have. Please feel free to call my district office at (773) 769-1717 or email your question here. My district office is located at 5533 N. Broadway near Broadway and Bryn Mawr. We are typically open from 9am to 5pm, but please call to make an appointment.

Sincerely,
SteansSig

Heather Steans
State Senator, 7th District

Senator Steans

February 23, 2016

Dear Friends,


While we are now 8 months without a budget for our current fiscal year (FY16), the governor gave his budget address last Wednesday to present his proposed FY17 budget.  Following my brief overview and comments is a table comparing the FY15 budget, the FY16 estimated budget and the governor's proposed FY17 budget.  You can review the budget in detail here.

 

The governor's proposed budget has a $3.5 billion budget deficit he proposes to close by following one of two paths:

 

1. Working with the General Assembly to increase revenues after enacting items in his "turnaround agenda," such as additional workers' compensation reforms, pension reforms and limits on collective bargaining


2. Asking the General Assembly to give him power in FY16 and FY17 to reduce spending by


• Forcing reductions in spending from any fund except debt service, K-12 general state aid and funds for early childhood education; reductions to pension payments would be allowed
• Transferring any amount from any fund to the general fund (excluding federal funds, debt service funds, pension funds and the road fund)
• Eliminating or reducing transfers to local governments and other statutory transfers
• Lowering rates paid to providers
• Adjusting human services program eligibility and provider rates


In addition to being out of balance, there are a number of other potential concerns with the proposed budget:


1. While the Governor suggests fully funding P-12 education, his plan does not fix the state's broken education funding formula.  Thus, poor areas of the state will continue to fall further behind.


2. On top of the $3.5 billion deficit, the budget assumes savings that will require legislative action, such as pension reforms, changes to health insurance for state employees and revisions to the procurement process.


3. The budget eliminates 15 human services programs that were funded at $53 million in FY15 and replaces them with a single lump sum of $25 million.  Programs cut include homeless prevention, addiction prevention, the Autism Program, Teen Reach after school programs and immigrant and refugee services.


As noted in a Crain's Chicago Business editorial, this budget proposal "was a bit like watching a dog chase its tail.  Gov. Bruce Rauner went through the motions, again insisting his turnaround agenda priorities are key to fixing Illinois' fiscal problems despite scant evidence to support this claim.  Democratic leaders, meanwhile, immediately rejected Rauner's call to pass his budget or allow him to make the cuts he deems necessary to put spending in balance."

 

The budget impasse is horrible for the state.  Real people are getting hurt by this inaction.  Universities are in danger of closing or losing accreditation.  Students who may not receive state scholarships are unable to return to school.  Seniors can no longer receive care in their homes.  And social service agencies throughout the state are closing programs and laying off staff with devastating impact to people they serve.  


We can and should work with the governor on his turnaround agenda issues and more, but as critical social services shut down on a near-daily basis and higher education flounders, my focus is a budget for Illinois. I'm working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle in both chambers to get to a solution as soon as possible - on the budget and reforms - and I am convinced there is a path forward that is positive for residents, workers and businesses throughout the state.  While the Senate President has been looking for areas of agreement to end the impasse, we need all our leaders to put the concerns of the public first.

Please also see below for two informative events - one on property tax appeals and the other on financial literacy - taking place tonight in the 7th District. As always, I encourage you to contact me with any questions by calling my office at (773) 769-1717 or through my website.

 

Sincerely,
Heather Steans
Senator Heather Steans
7th District – Illinois

 

budget table

 

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Contact Us

District Office
5533 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640
Office: 773-769-1717
Fax: 773-769-6901

Springfield Office
623 Capitol Building
301 S. Second St.
Springfield, IL 62706
Office: 217-782-8492