may31 presser rAfter shouldering the responsibility of crafting and passing a balanced budget last week, Senate Democrats expressed their frustration today that the governor and the House refused to finalize a deal to bring stability back to Illinois.

“The Senate Democrats have acted responsibly over the past five months,” State Senator Andy Manar (D – Bunker Hill) said. “We’ve passed major bills that the governor has both asked for and demanded in some cases. Along with that, we have advanced a budget to the House that lives within the governor’s spending limits that he put forward.”

The Senate Democrats’ balanced budget includes a mix of $3 billion in cuts and reductions to government spending, an increase in revenues and a host of reforms.

In addition to closing the nearly $5 billion hole in Gov. Rauner’s introduced budget, the Senate Democrats’ budget includes millions of dollars for human services and education – two vital areas that continue to suffer as the governor holds the state hostage.

“We stand very firm and proud of the fact that we did what we believed to be the right thing, which was to pass a fully funded budget which addresses things we’ve heard about for two years now,” State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) said. ” The cost of chaos is something you can’t manage.”

The budget provides the highest level of investment for colleges and universities they’ve seen in two years. It also restores funding for college grant (MAP) funding that Gov. Rauner slashed and would ensure public schools can open in the fall, with $330 million in additional funding, plus $35 million for after-school programs and advanced placement classes.

A variety of human service programs eliminated by the governor would be restored, including: autism support, youth employment, Teen Reach, community youth services, immigrant services and addiction prevention services.

“It’s time for the governor to do his job,” State Senator Don Harmon (D – Oak Park) said. “We’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting for the governor to do his job and all he does is campaign. It’s time to govern.”

“We now need the governor and the House to join in and get a balanced budget. We in the Senate did our jobs. We passed a balanced budget. We now need everyone to step up and do their jobs,” State Senator Heather Steans (D – Chicago) said.

Category: News Releases

05312017CM0076 rMajority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) released the following statement on the Senate passing legislation creating an elected Chicago school board:

"The people on the Chicago Board of Education make decisions about the education of our children, decisions that can impact the rest of their lives. Surely their parents ought to have a say in who represents their children’s interests on that board. I am proud that we took action to ensure the Chicago school board answers to parents, not the mayor."

Category: News Releases

04272017CM0704 rMajority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) released the following statement on the Senate passing a balanced budget for FY 2018:

“Today, after months of failed negotiations with Republicans, Senate Democrats made the responsible choice and passed a budget that will restore stability to the communities that need it the most.

For almost two years, immigrants, women, children, people with disabilities and senior citizens have suffered without a budget. Over and over again they have voiced their fears about losing the services they need. And over and over again Governor Rauner’s administration hasn’t listened. Today, the Senate Democrats took action to fix what the governor has broken.

The budget we passed today includes $6 million for immigrant services. It fully funds domestic violence shelters, child care services, and breast and cervical cancer screenings. It provides opportunities for youth through millions of dollars for youth employment and community youth services. It cares for our most vulnerable citizens through funding for mental health programs, addiction treatment and prevention, and autism support. And it ensures that our students can start school on time by including additional funding for public schools.

Illinoisans have been suffering for years because of a crisis that they did not create. We were elected to do a job, and today we fulfilled our responsibility to our constituents and our communities.”

Category: News Releases

05192017CM0213 rMajority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) criticized Secretary of Education Beth Purvis for pitting the students in Chicago Public Schools against students in the rest of the state in her opposition to the Senate’s recently passed school funding reform bill.

“Governor Rauner and his administration think that some children don’t deserve the same chance. Apparently the children in Chicago Public Schools did something wrong, by being lower-income, by being black or brown, and don’t deserve equal opportunity,” Martinez said at a press conference this morning. “It is our responsibility as legislators to make sure that the circumstances children are born into do not dictate the education they receive. It is our job to stand up for every child in our state.”

Martinez joined several other Democratic senators in calling for the Executive Inspector General of Illinois to investigate the distribution of state materials from Rauner’s administration to a political group funded by the governor’s campaign.

State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), the bill’s sponsor, said at the press conference that documents incorrectly portraying the funding schools in Kankakee County would receive were sent to a politically-motivated publication. Manar had seen the documents on Thursday in a meeting with Governor Rauner and had pointed out their errors.

The Rauner administration has been vocal in its opposition to Manar’s legislation, claiming it “bails out” Chicago Public Schools.

“I’m tired of hearing the term ‘bailing out CPS,’” Martinez said. “Let me remind Governor Rauner and Beth Purvis that the Chicago Public School District is the third-largest school district in the nation. Shame on the administration that cannot look at this picture for all children across the state and see that every child deserves the same education.”

SB 1 replaces the state’s current school funding formula with an evidence-based model. It  passed the Senate 35-18 on Wednesday with no Republican support.

Martinez's full remarks can be viewed here.

Category: News Releases

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