McGuire: 'Establishment legislators are ignoring the plight of their constitutents'
Brandi McGuire, Republican candidate for the Illinois House in District 72, slammed the Illinois legislature last week for failing to pass a balanced budget before adjourning its spring session.
The state has been operating without a budget since the 2015 fiscal year started -- and there is no relief in sight.
"This is an unprecedented crisis in Illinois history, and our establishment legislators are ignoring the plight of their constituents," McGuire told the Rock Island Today.
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic leaders in the state legislature, including House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Dist. 22) and Senate President John Cullerton (D-Dist. 6), have been at an impasse since the governor took office last year.
Rauner ran on a platform promising to reform Illinois to make it economically competitive. He tried to convince the legislature to consider measures to limit collective bargaining by the public workers' unions. The Democratic majority, however, said that the governor's proposals would harm Illinois' citizens.
The out-of-balance budget legislation sent to the governor in 2015 was vetoed; only the bill that funded K-12 education was signed by Rauner. With no budget in place for the 2015 fiscal year, court orders and state law forced funding to some essential services. Cuts and layoffs ensued in social services and other state-funded agencies.
Faced with the end of the spring legislative session on May 31 and the new fiscal year beginning on July 1, the legislature went into a flurry of action last week.
The House passed a Madigan-proposed unbalanced budget that was $7 billion in the red and called for raising taxes. On May 24, the day before the budget was sent to the Senate, Madigan called a press conference, stating that the governor would be responsible for balancing the budget once it had passed through the legislature. Rauner made it clear that if it passed through the Senate, he would veto the bill. The Senate, however, defeated the budget on May 31.
The Senate, in turn, generated an education budget to ensure that schools could open in the fall. It was sent to the House for approval, but also went down to defeat on May 31.
"For the second consecutive year and for 502 days, our state does not have a balanced budget," McGuire said in a statement released after the debacle in the legislature. "The establishment legislators in Springfield have put their interests ahead of the needs of the people they have been elected to serve. Once again, they refuse to put their partisan differences aside, and we back home are ignored and unheard. Both the Illinois House of Representatives and the Senate tried to pass unbalanced budgets with tax increases to pay for their irresponsibility. We here in Rock Island County just received an increase in our property taxes, and our state legislators just attempted to have us pay more in taxes for a state government that does not work and for legislators who are not doing their jobs."
The Illinois legislature adjourned the spring session without a budget. While special appropriations bills were discussed, none were voted on before midnight and the end of the session. Education and social services were not funded, leaving students and the poor, disabled, disadvantaged and veterans in limbo.
"In America and Illinois, for generations our leaders have stepped up to the plate and overcame (challenges)," McGuire told Rock Island Today. "This did not happen (last week) in Springfield."
McGuire pointed out that Illinois has among the highest property taxes in the nation, yet families and businesses do not benefit from their tax dollars. Parents send their students out of state to attend college while businesses, families and college graduates seek business and family-friendly locations outside of Illinois.
"I am running for office to say no to more taxes, no to more irresponsible spending, and no to business as usual," McGuire said in her press release. "I am running for office to listen to the people of Rock Island County and to be an advocate for your concerns -- not those of special or partisan interests. I am going to Springfield to be a voice for those of us unheard, our working families, seniors, disabled, veteran and business owners."
As the budget impasse nears the second-year mark, McGuire challenged voters.
"Let’s send a message to the establishment legislators in Springfield: do your jobs and pass a balanced budget," she said.
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