Senate week in review     Send a link to a friend

June 21-27

[JUNE 28, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- The General Assembly was called back to Springfield June 24 by the governor to finish work on the fiscal 2005 budget. The special session will cost Illinois taxpayers approximately $17,000 each day for completing work that was already in progress and far from finished, according to state Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington.

While lawmakers were required by the governor to be in Springfield both June 26 and June 27, no votes were taken and no legislation was discussed in either chamber.

Senate Republicans have been working toward a responsible, balanced, pro-jobs budget that meets the priorities of all Illinois citizens. The governor and the Democratic-controlled General Assembly made crucial mistakes last year, and continuing those same mistakes this year will only further exacerbate the state's financial crisis, Brady said.

Last year's budget, which Senate Republicans opposed, contained massive tax and fee increases, one-time revenue schemes, and overspending.

As lawmakers continue to work toward a budget agreement, Senate Republicans are fighting to include:

  • A competitive jobs climate and an end to the tax and fee increases that sent jobs across state lines.
  • Limited government spending in light of the state's fiscal crisis, including across-the-board cuts and cuts specifically targeting new spending initiatives and program expansions.
  • Increased education funding, from kindergarten to college, within the state's available resources and restoring the 3 percent to 5 percent cuts the governor proposed for higher education.

 

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  • Properly managed Medicaid spending to save tens of millions of dollars each year.
  • A responsible approach to managing state debt -- an approach that includes level principal payments and prompt repayment.
  • An end to the chargeback authority that gives the governor's office access to dedicated state funds.
  • Protection for public pensions to keep the state's promises to retirees.
  • Accountability and sunshine on facility closures, including public hearings to review proposed closures of prison, state offices and state facilities.

Senate Republicans also want to see resolution to some of the non-budget issues still under consideration, including significant medical malpractice reforms to address a growing health crisis throughout Illinois. While the governor called four special sessions during the week, he has been silent on the substantive issues still under consideration by the General Assembly.

[Illinois Senate Republican Caucus
news release]

 

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