On April 7, 2016 in Springfield, Leaders Jim Durkin and Christine Radogno introduced their proposal to provide funding for Departments of Aging, Human Services, Public Health, Veterans Affairs and more.
The plan, HB6553, appropriates $433M from the General Revenue Fund and $858M from Other State Funds to support critical services offered by the State of Illinois. A significant portion of the $1.3B combined total can be achieved by enacting common-sense changes to state pension systems, reforms that are not subject to court challenge and yield savings that can be banked immediately. For instance, there are currently 400 school district employees who are paid an average of $225,000 annually. As of now, the State of Illinois pays all of the pension costs for these individuals. Instead of this being paid by Illinois taxpayers, Governor Rauner suggests that the State require an employer to pick up the pension costs for anyone earning a salary over $180,000 per year.
The most vulnerable citizens of this state rely on services from the departments this bill seeks to fund. The bill does not simply fund, it provides an actual dependable source of funding.
Reforming Illinois’ pension systems could save an enormous sum of money. If Governor Rauner’s pension changes were implemented immediately, experts estimate they would save hundreds of millions of dollars for Fiscal Year 2017. It is time the government took a look in the mirror and realized that there are things that can be done better to set Illinois on a successful path to a financially sound future.
HB6553 would provide funding for the Department of Aging, Department of Human Services, Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Department of Public Health, Department of Revenue, Department of Veterans Affairs, supplemental veterans homes, Illinois EPA, Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority and Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
Illinois has been without a budget for 10 months. It is imperative that the merits of HB6553 are allowed to be vetted and debated on the House floor. Illinoisans chose to be represented by a bipartisan form of government. HB6553, a republican appropriations bill, deserves the same rights to be heard by General Assembly members as does any democrat appropriations bill.