Bomke: Record-setting budget battle over

Prisons to get restaffed, schools get funds and developmentally disabled caretakers get cost of living increases          Send a link to a friend

[August 10, 2007]  SPRINGFIELD -- Ten weeks of overtime session later, the Illinois Senate voted on a fiscal year 2008 budget. The bill passed by a vote of 52-5 and is now going to the Illinois House for a vote. After the House vote, it will be sent to the governor to sign before becoming law, according to state Sen. Larry Bomke, R-Springfield.

AFSCME's contract will be fully funded under the budget, with the hiring of an additional 1,150 front-line employees. The Department of Corrections will get 500 of these new employees.

"The DOC was in desperate need of these new hires," said Bomke. "They have seen steady cuts to front-line staff over the last five years, and this puts prison employees and the general public at risk."

Education will receive a boost with the new budget. Higher education will receive a total increase of $68 million, while elementary and secondary schools will receive an increase of $610 million. This is all done without the governor's proposed gross receipts tax or the sale of the Illinois Lottery, as previously suggested by this administration.

"I am glad that we will see education funding increase and pension contributions fully funded this year without any of the governor's proposed tax increases," Bomke said. "The majority of the budget increases will come from an estimated $1 billion in natural revenue growth."

Another highlight of this budget is that $35 million will go to cost of living increases for employees who provide care for people with developmental disabilities.

[Text from file sent on behalf of Sen. Larry Bomke by Illinois Senate Republican staff]

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