EDITORIAL: Let’s Get Back to the Table

The end of our regular legislative session came and went last Wednesday with no agreement on a balanced budget. We remained on the floor of the House until late in the evening on May 31, hopeful that bipartisanship and reason would prevail. But as the night progressed, similar to the days that led up to May 31, most of the bills brought to us for votes were politically-motivated bills that did nothing to bring us closer to budget agreement or move our state forward. Below is an editorial I wrote immediately after it was learned that we would not be voting on a budget:

When the people of the 81st District elected me as their voice, I headed to Springfield determined to reach across the aisle and find consensus on key issues that would place our State on a trajectory toward growth and opportunities for all. Of course, the most important priority was solving the seemingly endless budget stalemate that has plagued our State for far too long.
I am extremely disappointed that a compromise to achieve a balanced budget with reforms could not be reached prior to the constitutionally-mandated legislative adjournment date of May 31. For the third year in a row, rather than adjourning until the fall veto session, the legislature will be in continuous session as we enter the summer months.
Illinois needs a budget – we need a balanced budget right now! Our schools, colleges and universities, social service providers, businesses and all our residents need the certainty that only a comprehensive balanced budget can provide. We also cannot repeat the same mistakes of the past and rely only upon tax increases on working families to solve the budget mess. Our State must change the way we do business.
Many rank-and-file legislators on both the Republican and Democratic sides were willing – and remain willing – to put aside partisan differences and work toward a balanced budget with reforms. And while I am pleased the Senate Democrats unbalanced budget and large tax increase did not advance in the House, I am frustrated that Speaker Madigan has not allowed us one opportunity to vote on a comprehensive budget since I began my tenure in the House last year.
I remain ready to do the difficult work necessary to make a balanced budget a reality prior to the start of the new state fiscal year on July 1. Let’s get back to the table.

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