Happy New Year!
From our family to yours, we wish you a successful 2017. The start of a new year usually brings forth new plans, an optimistic attitude and an internal appeal for self- discipline in a quest for achieving those midnight resolutions. For Illinoisans, there is little reason for optimism in a state that long ago showed no budget discipline and now finds itself on the brink of fiscal calamity. In Illinois, 2017 will require much more than midnight resolutions. It will require new plans, new ideas about government responsibilities and new ways of delivering services.
I thank you for the opportunity to serve you as state representative and I invite you to be part of the solution. I believe, one barrier holding us back from making the difficult choices needed to take this state from bottom 5 in the nation - on job growth, property taxes, pension funding, state school funding, and credit worthiness - to just middle of the road, is miscommunication about the nature of our fiscal problems, the depth of the problems, and the various solutions and their consequences. During this Spring legislative session I, along with Senator Connelly, will host a number of town halls in the district to let you know what is happening in Springfield. This is a continuation of our “No Easy Answers – Straight Talk” town halls we have done in the past. These town halls will begin after the Governor’s Budget address currently scheduled for February 15th. Once we confirm locations, a full schedule of our town halls will be posted on our websites and noted in our email newsletters. We want you to attend and bring a friend or neighbor along.
We head back to Springfield on January 9-10 for two days of “Lame Duck” session where the 99th General Assembly will have two days to clean up any action before the new 100th General Assembly is sworn in on January 11th. My intent is to send out an email at the start of each session week to let you know about the important legislation that may come up for a vote that week. This way you can weigh in on the debate. My email will include a link to session so you can watch it on your computer.
Here are some links to articles that set the table on where we are as a state at the beginning of 2017. Again, I truly wish each one of you great personal and professional success this year and I will be your strongest advocate in Springfield for policies that lead us along a path to prosperity.
Also, look for the online survey in my coming emails about issues that have been percolating in Springfield.
Rep. Ives: Keeping You Informed
“Illinois enters 2017 with no state budget” State Journal-Register: Illinoisans can be forgiven for having a sense of déjà vu. The six-month spending plan passed by the General Assembly at the end of June expired at midnight Saturday. As of now, state lawmakers aren't due to return to Springfield until Jan. 9 for what would be a very abbreviated lame-duck session where outgoing lawmakers could still vote on a new state spending plan and elements of Gov. Bruce Rauner's pro-business "turnaround agenda" if they chose… read the full story here
“2016 ends as it began at Illinois Statehouse” Quad-City Times: When it comes to Illinois government, 2016 ends much as it began, with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democratic-controlled General Assembly at odds over the budget and the governor’s agenda. A stopgap spending plan that’s been funding most state operations since July ends when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s, plunging public universities, community colleges, social service providers and others who depend on the state back into fiscal uncertainty…read the full story here
“The Madigan plan for 2017: More Failure, more bleeding” Chicago Tribune editorial: The new year brings still more menacing news to Illinois. No, not just the chance that Democratic state reps will re-elect Michael Madigan speaker of the Illinois House. No, not the end of a stopgap spending plan, the closest to a balanced state budget that Madigan…can write. No, not the continuing exodus from Illinois, with census numbers showing that 114,000 more people have fled…read the full story here
“Real budget could help keep people in Illinois” Rockford Register-Star editorial: No one is surprised that Illinois lost more residents in 2016 than any other state. There's been a lot of hand-wringing, shoulder shrugging and general angst that Illinois lost 37,508 people, which puts its population at the lowest it's been in at least a decade. That's important information to have. So who's going to do something about it? The reasons people leave are no secret to Illinoisans: high taxes, the state budget stalemate, crime, the unemployment rate and the weather… read the full story here
“Gov. Bruce Rauner: It’s Time to Set Illinois on a Path for Success” State Journal-Register: Illinois has now gone without a budget for 18 months. And as of Jan. 1, the spending authority provided by a short-term stopgap plan expired, meaning the state can no longer pay for new costs incurred by our colleges and universities, human service groups and businesses providing goods and services to veterans homes, correctional facilities and other institutions… read the full story here