Rep. Bellock on Budget, Tax Hike, & School Funding Reform

Rep. Patti Bellock
I would like to thank everyone who contacted my office in recent weeks to share their concerns about the need to pass a state budget and the income tax increase that was ultimately enacted over the Governor’s veto. While finally having a state budget provides a much-needed measure of stability to the safety net for the most vulnerable in our community, the budget that was passed was NOT the outcome many of us were working toward. 

The General Assembly passed a state budget with a 32% income tax increase on July 2 and voted to override the Governor’s vetoes on July 6, making them law. I opposed this budget because it does not have the fundamental changes that are necessary to put the State on a positive path long-term; specifically, economic and worker’s comp reforms that would attract private-sector employers and entrepreneurs to locate and create jobs here in Illinois.

I voted NO on the 32% tax increase for a number of reasons, mainly because hardworking families and taxpayers should not be asked to pay more while state government fails to enact needed spending reforms to ensure that we will not find ourselves right back in a similar budget crisis in a few short years.

Illinois cannot tax its way to prosperity. The only sustainable way to restore stability and health to the Illinois budget is through private-sector job growth. More jobs would mean more people paying taxes and natural revenue growth for the state without the need to raise taxes. At the same time, the state must begin to live within its means, not spending more than we take in. This should be common sense.

We expect to return to Springfield this week to address the Governor’s anticipated amendatory veto of the education funding reform legislation, Senate Bill 1. This legislation in its present form shortchanges our local school districts to benefit the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system.

Here is a fact to consider – 64% of all new funds ($495 million of the $778 million) for education contained in SB 1 are directed to CPS, despite the fact that they only have 19% of the state's students.

Our children’s education is too important not to get this right. The idea of school funding reform is to help all children in Illinois prosper. Suburban school children deserve fair funding too.  I urge my colleagues to come together on a better approach that ensures equitable funding of all schools in Illinois. 

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