Senator Steans

June 19, 2017

Dear Friends,

 

Illinois’ credit rating currently sits just a step above junk-bond status and important trigger dates in the impasse are looming. I need your help to encourage the governor to sign a full-year budget and end the impasse. The Senate passed a balanced budget solution on May 23. Since then, it has been in the House under consideration while the governor has threatened to veto it.

 

Moody’s Investors Service as well as S&P Global Ratings have warned that Illinois could fall into junk-bond status on July 1, 2017. No state in the history of the nation has ever been downgraded to junk-bond status.

 

On the governor’s watch, our universities and our social service agencies have been decimated. Our state’s bond rating has been downgraded seven times since Gov. Rauner took office.

 

Senator Steans in a budget hearingThough the governor walked away from budget negotiations on Dec. 7, 2016, the Senate worked tirelessly to pass a complete and balanced budget on May 23 that would provide fiscal stability and certainty.

 

The Senate Democrats’ budget plan includes the same spending level as the governor proposed and nearly $3 billion in spending reductions without jeopardizing the future of our universities and schools nor the vital work that human services provide. Our plan also balances Rauner’s nearly $5 billion out-of-balance budget.

 

With less than two weeks until the end of the fiscal year, time is running out to end the budget impasse before serious trigger points are reached. Those dates are:

• On June 30, the Illinois Department of Transportation will halt all work on existing projects if a budget is not passed. This will come as a huge expense to the state. According to the Transportation for Illinois Coalition, shutting down job sites will cost more than $3 million a day and will force approximately 30,000 Illinoisans to be laid off across the state.

• The first payment to state workers for the next fiscal year is due on July 7. State workers have continued to receive payment in the absence of a budget due to a court order.

• Without a budget, the state won’t be able to pay schools in August, which may delay their opening in the fall. As of May 31, the Chicago Tribune reported that the state is nine months behind on payments to CPS and owes the school district $467 million. CPS currently owes creditors $9 billion.

• Social service agencies in the district and across the state have been forced to bear much of the burden of the budget impasse. After months of delayed payments, many have been forced to reduce services, cut back on staff or close their doors entirely. More social service agencies will suffer if the impasse continues and will no longer be able to provide their vital support to our communities. Increasingly, social service agencies have come forward stating that they will not be able to make payroll by the end of the summer.

 

Several of our institutions of higher education received a further downgrade earlier this month, including five to junk-bond status. Illinois universities and community colleges have not received a full year of funding since 2015. Since then, universities have been forced to cut programs, implement furlough days and lay off staff. Moody’s noted that consistent state support could improve the universities’ credit rating.

 

I encourage you to reach out to the governor’s office to let him know that you want him to sign a complete budget that will set us on a path to fiscal stability. He needs to hear from you.

 

Tell him by email: http://bit.ly/EmailGovRauner
Tell him on the phone: 217-782-0244
Tell him on Twitter: @GovRauner
Tell him in a letter: Office of the Governor, 207 State House, Springfield IL 62706
Tell him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GovRauner/

 

I will continue to do my part to end the budget impasse. As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 773-769-1717 or reach out online with any questions or concerns.

 

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

 

Upcoming Coffee and Conversation postponed

 

The Coffee and Conversation initially scheduled for June 24 at Budlong Woods Library has been postponed due to the special legislative session. We will work to reschedule the event later this summer.

 

 

District Office

5533 N. Broadway • Chicago, IL 60640

773-769-1717 (Phone) • 773-769-6901 (Fax)

 

Springfield Office

623 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706

217-782-8492 (Phone)

 

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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