Sen. Barickman: Democrat leaders need to make a decision on budget

Springfield– During his annual Budget Address, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner stated that Democrats need to decide whether they want to give him the power to make the drastic cuts necessary to balance the budget, or work together with Republicans to reform state government and increase state revenue.      

“The Governor made it clear that we can still fix the state budget,” said Sen. Barickman. “But Democrats who control the legislature will have to be willing to work with us to fix the structural issues that have led to deficit after deficit and created our current budget crisis.”

Governor Rauner laid out two paths toward a balanced budget. One approach, would combine structural reforms to state government with budget cuts and increased revenue to balance the budget and help grow the economy.

Rauner indicated this path would be based on a spending level of up to $36 billion per year, and that it would enable the state to provide record funding levels for K-12 schools with an increase of $55 million. This would also free up an increase of $75 million for early childhood education programs.

The Governor stated that if Democrats have no interest in working together to fix state government, then massive cuts would be necessary. He said that the recently introduced Unbalanced Budget Response Act would give him the emergency budget authority necessary to ensure General Revenue Fund spending aligns with anticipated revenues of $32 billion.

“Everyone knows which approach is best, and that is to work together,” said Senator Barickman. “This shouldn’t be about politics or the next election. This must be about doing what is best for the people of Illinois.”

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