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Senate Week in Review: June 19-23, 2017

During the first week of the special session called by the Governor, State Republican lawmakers redoubled their efforts to resolve the state’s budget impasse by offering a compromise balanced budget plan with reforms, and a data-driven system to fund all Illinois schools more equitably.

On June 21, State Senators Bill Brady (Bloomington), Jason Barickman (Bloomington), Karen McConnaughay (St. Charles) and Dale Righter (Mattoon); and State Representatives Jim Durkin (Western Springs), Patti Bellock (Hinsdale), Dan Brady (Normal) and Tom Demmer (Dixon) explained the provisions of a compromise balanced budget with reforms, which is on the table and ready to be enacted.

In other action, all Illinois school districts would benefit from a more equitable distribution of state education dollars under a compromise proposed June 22 by Senator Barickman to fix the state’s broken school-aid formula.

Lawmakers call for compromise budget plan

Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) says the budget package is “a reasonable compromise that will allow Illinois to move forward.”

The comprehensive proposal includes a balanced budget, a four-year hard spending cap, lasting property tax relief, and changes to the state’s regulatory system that will create jobs and boost the economy. The bills also includes a $288 million increase for the new school funding formula, as well as additional funding to fulfill commitments to restore child care eligibility to 185 percent of the federal poverty level, and a wage increase to Direct Support Professionals. It also includes term limits on legislative leaders and constitutional officers.

The compromise budget package includes:

•Budget Bills (SB 2176, 2214, 2215, 2216, 2217, 2218): Comprehensive budget proposal that includes real spending cuts and a four-year spending cap, while providing funding to state agencies like the Department of Human Services to care for our state’s most vulnerable residents, and the Department of Transportation to continue important infrastructure projects.

•Property Tax Relief (HB 4066): Four-year freeze for all taxing districts, but would allow residents, through voter referendum, to lower or increase their taxes. Allows for an exemption on existing debt service payments as requested by Senate Democrats.

•Local Government Consolidation (HB 4067): Strengthens and improves the already-passed Senate Bill 3, and will allow for citizen-initiated consolidation on units of local government.

•Education Funding (SB 1124, HB 4069): Changes the K-12 education funding formula.  It treats every district equitably, consistent with the bipartisan framework of the Governor’s School Funding Commission. It includes funding for early childhood education, K-12 education, community colleges and universities.

•Workers’ Comp (HB 4068): Uses previously negotiated language between Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats, like changes to the medical fee schedule, but does not reduce benefits to workers or include a causation standard.

•Pension Reform (HB 4064): Accepts Senate Bill 16, which has previously passed the Senate, including Senate President John Cullerton’s consideration model and the state’s pickup of Chicago Public Schools’ pension payments.

•Term Limits (HJRCA 33, HJRCA 2): Constitutional amendment to impose 10-year term limits on legislative leaders in the General Assembly and eight-year limits on Constitutional Officers (Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Comptroller, Treasurer, and Secretary of State).

Compromise school funding bill more equitable for all schools

According to data released by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the education funding compromise sponsored by Senator Barickman would give all Illinois school districts a more equitable distribution of state education dollars.

School districts in every region of the state would fare better under this compromise measure, and Senate Bill 1124 (Senate Floor Amendment 3) would drive more funding to low-income students across the state’s 852 school districts than they would receive under previous measures, including Senate Bill 1.   Senate Bill 1124 has many bipartisan components but it differs from other reform plans, like Senate Bill 1, in the way it treats Chicago Public Schools. Whereas Senate Bill 1 funnels hundreds of millions of dollars toward just the one district, Senate Bill 1124 treats all districts equally and rejects the cycle of Chicago Public Schools bailouts.

The ISBE analysis for Senate Bill 1124 (Senate Floor Amendment 3) is available at https://www.isbe.net/Pages/Education-Funding-Proposals.aspx.

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