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SPRINGFIELD -The Senate today conducted a budget hearing outlining what kind of reductions would be necessary to balance the state budget after the income tax increase expires at the end of this year.

The outlook is grim. After hearing testimony from each state agency about what a 17 to 20 percent reduction in their budgets would mean, State Senator Melinda Bush was gravely concerned by the lack of options.

“The idea that we must balance our state budget on the backs of those most in need is immoral and unconscionable,” Bush said. “If these cuts become reality, we will have failed those who need us most.”

Senator Bush is exceptionally alarmed by how the anticipated cuts could affect Illinois children.

“We have already cut our public school funding to the point that many schools can barely sustain themselves.  Additional cuts to education, early education, child care services, early intervention programs and health care would put the lives and futures of many children in our communities in jeopardy.”

The Illinois State Board of Education testified before the committee and cited examples of what the reductions to the Education Budget could mean to specific school districts. In Round Lake, a community in Senator Bush’s district, the decrease would mean the elimination of all extracurricular activities and sports, as well as a reduction of one-third of the district’s total staff.

The governor is expected to unveil his budget plan next Wednesday.

Category: Features

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