Senator Bush speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) issued the following statement in response to the Senate’s passage of a balanced budget:

“Today, the Senate Democrats once again chose to restore stability and certainty to Illinois by passing a balanced budget that will prevent the closure of University Center of Lake County, restores funding to social service providers and ensures our schools open on time this fall.

“Governor Rauner’s two-and-a-half-year reign of destruction has brought Illinois to the brink of collapse. His refusal to sign a budget has led to seven credit downgrades for Illinois and a 220% increase in the state’s bill backlog, from $4.6 billion in unpaid bills when he took office to $14.7 billion today.

“I hope the governor chooses to put people before politics and sign the Senate’s balanced budget plan into law. The cost of inaction is too great. It’s time for him to do his job.”

###

Category: Press Releases

Road Construction AheadSPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation will suspend all planned road and bridge construction projects if the state’s two-year budget impasse is not resolved by the end of the month, a situation that would create transit headaches and economic hardship for Lake County residents.

“Last month, the Illinois Senate passed a balanced budget that includes funding for Lake County road projects, but the governor has refused to support it and the House hasn’t called it for a vote,” said Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake). “Lake County has some of the worst traffic in the state. If the state’s budget crisis isn’t resolved by June 30th, all existing road construction projects will be stopped and Lake County traffic will get worse.”

Not only would an IDOT shutdown create traffic problems, it would have major impacts on state and local economies, Bush said.

Twenty-three thousand Illinoisans would lose their jobs if the state fails to fund its infrastructure projects, according to the Illinois Economic Policy Institute. The loss of jobs and economic activity would lead to a $115 million reduction in local and state tax revenues while the increased demand for unemployment insurance would cost taxpayers as much as $155 million.

“The state cannot afford a shutdown,” Bush said. “I urge my colleagues in the House to pass the Senate’s balanced budget plan, which would fully fund infrastructure projects, and I ask the governor to stop putting politics before people and support the Senate’s plan to end the budget crisis.”

Current and future Lake County infrastructure that would be affected include congestion mitigation for parts of I-83, I-120 and I-137, widening, resurfacing and maintenance of I-132, and bridge maintenance and safety improvements on Milwaukee Ave. and US-41. To see a full list of scheduled road construction projects in the 31st Senate District, click here.


###

Category: Press Releases

02152017CM0952 copySPRINGFIELD – Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) issued the following statement in response to Governor Rauner’s “unity” address:

“Three months ago, the Senate was just hours away from passing the bipartisan budget and reforms of the Grand Bargain when the governor came in and demanded that the Republicans back out of the deal. His actions effectively destroyed the months-long attempts at senate unity and prevented the two-year-long budget crisis from being resolved.

“Now, with just 11 days left in the fiscal year, the governor is calling for unity while running attack ads on Democratic legislators? It's absurd. The Senate Democrats already did the hard work of passing a balanced budget with the non-budgetary reforms the governor demanded and he still refuses to end the impasse.

“Governor Rauner has made it clear that he has no interest in unifying legislators and passing a balanced budget. If he did, he would be talking to leaders and legislators from both parties instead of giving phony speeches and spending millions of dollars on political ads attacking the very people he claims to want to unify.”


###

Category: Press Releases

Senator Bush being interviewed in the CapitolSPRINGFIELD – The latest school funding reform numbers show that a fake news group backed by Gov. Bruce Rauner was indeed pedaling misinformation regarding public school funding in Illinois in the weeks leading up to approval of a historic education finance overhaul.

“The State Board of Education’s analysis of Senate Bill 1 proves what proponents have been saying all along—no school districts in Illinois would lose money under the new formula,” said Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake). “The Lake County Gazette – conservative political propaganda disguised as a newspaper, funded by hyper-partisan WIND talk show host Dan Proft – tried to mislead Illinoisans by using an analysis of a completely different school funding reform bill from last year and claiming that the numbers in that analysis were from Senate Bill 1.”

An analysis only recently made public by Rauner’s education agency shows that no school districts in Illinois would lose money under the plan lawmakers recently approved. In fact, schools in the 31st District are estimated to gain $11,539,070 in state funding under the Senate’s plan. Supporters had said holding the line on funding was key to getting support for the overhaul that does away with the current, antiquated funding system and instead targets new state dollars to schools facing the toughest economic and educational challenges.

“Republicans are going around the state pushing fake information and making up excuses because the truth is they voted against a bill that would help their local schools,” Bush said.

The new plan seeks to maintain funding for schools that are doing well while increasing support for those that are struggling. It’s a reform more than two decades in the works and one that still faces major political obstacles.

Gov. Rauner was already threatening to veto the historic education overhaul even before lawmakers had given it final approval. As a result, the Senate is delaying sending the paperwork to the governor’s desk in hope cooler heads will prevail and the governor will recognize he’s getting a win on a key policy he’s wanted.

Rauner promised to change the school funding system and put his hand-picked education secretary in charge of an elite taskforce. But that taskforce failed to deliver an actual plan. Lawmakers stepped in to finish the job of not just drafting the plan, but then approving it.

In the midst of this work, a fake news site began spreading erroneous numbers, saying schools across the state were going to lose money. These numbers appeared on political news sites such as the Lake County Gazette. 

It was later revealed that the so-called latest numbers were actually pulled out of a different plan from more than a year ago. Unfortunately, Rauner and his education secretary never warned public school administrators and the taxpaying public to set the record straight on public school funding.

“Dan Proft and the Lake County Gazette are attempting to misinform readers by pretending to be a real, objective newspaper and pushing fake news to unsuspecting readers,” Bush said. “The Lake County Gazette’s attempt to intentionally misinform Illinoisans is absolutely disgraceful. Illinoisans deserve to know the truth.”

###

Category: Press Releases

opioid crisis button