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.


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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.”


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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.”

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Category: Press Releases

Senator Bush speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Lake County school districts, some of which have been shortchanged for decades under Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation education funding formula, will see a significant influx of funding under a landmark school funding reform measure that passed in Springfield last week.

“All children should have access to a quality education regardless of their zip code,” said Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake). “With Senate Bill 1, we created a more equitable school funding formula to aid school districts desperately in need of additional dollars, while ensuring that at a minimum we guaranteed current funding levels for every school district.”

Senate Bill 1 has strong support from thousands of school administrators, superintendents, principals, educators, taxpayers and advocates for fair school funding. Illinois’ school funding formula has not been updated in more than 20 years and is considered one of the worst in the nation because it relies so heavily on local property wealth.

“Senate Bill 1 not only ensures schools will be funded more equitably, it also provides property tax relief for high tax school districts,” Bush said. “Lake County has some of the highest property taxes in the country. I urge Governor Rauner to provide property tax relief for Lake County residents by signing Senate Bill 1 into law.”

Funding Illinois’ Future – a coalition that advocates for school funding reform – released an analysis of Illinois State Board of Education figures last week. The analysis showed potential funding increases for local school districts under Senate Bill 1, an evidence-based model that accounts for factors such as students with disabilities, English language learners and low-income students.

It also provides extra support for the neediest districts in the quest for adequate funding, and it offers property tax relief.

Again, no school district would receive less funding under Senate Bill 1 than they have received under Illinois’ current school funding formula.

The estimated overall gain some area school districts would experience under the Funding Illinois’ Future analysis of SB1 based on FY17 funding levels:

•    Round Lake Area School District 116 – $5.52 million
•    Zion-Benton Township High School District 126 – $1.95 million
•    Zion Elementary School District 6 – $1.62 million
•    Beach Park Community Consolidated School District 3 – $645,463
•    Grayslake Community Consolidated School District 46 – $353,068
•    Grayslake Community High School District 127 – $307,304
•    Warren Township High School District 121 – $282,621
•    Big Hollow School District 38 – $230,977
•    Wauconda Community Unit School District 118 – $215,152
•    Woodland Community Consolidated School District 50 – $192,036
•    Antioch Community Consolidated School District 34 – $90,190
•    Gavin School District 37 – $62,538
•    Millburn Community Consolidated School District 24 – $40,925
•    Winthrop Harbor School District 1 – $22,473

In addition, under Senate Bill 1, those that live in the school districts with the highest property taxes would be eligible for property tax relief up to 1 percent of their EAV. The following districts are projected to qualify for property tax relief:

•    Grayslake Community Consolidated School District 46 – $3.96 million
•    Round Lake Area School District 116 – $3.61 million
•    Grayslake Community High School District 127 – $2.71 million
•    Beach Park Community Consolidated School District 3 – $2.27 million
•    Zion-Benton Township High School District 126 – $1.82 million
•    Zion Elementary School District 6 – $1.05 million
•    Wauconda Community Unit School District – $109,162

These estimates are based on the funding levels proposed by the Illinois House of Representatives. As a result, these numbers may be higher than what the school districts will receive. To review the Funding Illinois’ Future analysis, visit fundingilfuture.org.

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Category: Press Releases

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