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Budget resolution negotiated     Send a link to a friend

Senator opposes cuts in civil service, Department of Corrections jobs

From state Sen. Larry Bomke

[JULY 26, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- State Sen. Larry Bomke, R-Springfield, reports that two months after the 93rd legislative session was scheduled to adjourn, the governor and General Assembly leaders have reached a budget compromise for fiscal 2005.

"Senate Republicans managed to attain many initiatives they have been consistently advocating," Bomke said. "The caucus fought hard for repeals on the tax and fee hikes the governor implemented in 2003, and many of those taxes are going to be eliminated. I am also pleased that a fair and equitable education budget was agreed upon. I have no doubt that the Republican presence at the negotiation table prevented millions of dollars in budgetary increases that, realistically, the state cannot afford at this time."

Bomke is also pleased with the outcome of budget negotiations resulting in an agreement that allows state employees who are enrolled in specific health plans to avoid semi-mandatory mail-order prescriptions.

"According to our agreement, retail pharmacies will be allowed to provide the same services as the state's new contractor," Bomke explained. "Pharmaceutical retailers were afraid that the mail-order option would negatively impact their sales. This legislation will repeal the policy which requires a state worker to use the mail order option or pay up to double the usual amount offered at a retail pharmacy."

Bomke was also glad to see a repeal of most of last year's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System fee increases the governor imposed on water and sewer lines.

"Many small, downstate communities were buckling under the economic strain of the NPDES fees," Bomke said. "By eliminating the fees, we reduce a huge financial burden on smaller communities."

Although Bomke praised some areas of the budget, the senator vocalized his opposition to a proposal reducing funding for the Department of Corrections and the Department of Human Services.

 

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"I am distressed to hear rumors that budget cuts might result in a speculated 1,600 layoffs, particularly in state departments where workers are already overburdened and overworked," he said. "In my opinion it is irresponsible to fund this budget by forcing more Illinois citizens out of work, particularly in agencies that are already suffering from underemployment. The governor's office insists no layoffs are planned, but I am reserving any opinion until I can review the final budget outline."

A tentative budget agreement indicates that a reduction of 4 percent, or $47 million, from the General Revenue Fund is planned for the Department of Corrections introduced operations level. A projected reduction of 3.5 percent of all General Revenue Fund appropriations, which cover administration costs and funding for almost all grants, has been proposed for the Department of Human Services.

 "While the Republican Caucus can identify many victories in this budget language, plans to further eliminate jobs, especially in those departments, is a real travesty. I'm not sure I can support a budget that would result in significant job loss statewide."

[From Sen. Larry Bomke, 50th District] 
 

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