FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 29, 2017
Contact: Alex Tindal Wiesendanger
Responsible Budget Coalition Renews Call for
Adequate and Permanent New Revenue
As the fiscal year draws to an end, budget negotiations continue, and Illinois readies itself to begin a third year without a state budget, the Responsible Budget Coalition, a network of over 300 human service, healthcare, education, labor, civic and faith organizations from every corner of the state, renews our call for Governor Rauner and the General Assembly to do their jobs and pass a full year budget with enough permanent new revenue to stop the budget cuts, repair the harm that has been done, restore stability, and make smart investments in our future.
The damage of the current budget impasse and the lack of adequate revenue has been immense and well documented. Due to over $15 billion in unpaid bills, human service agencies across the state have reduced services and dozens have closed their doors, leaving children, seniors, survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault, and people with disabilities without access to vital services. School districts have been denied one billion dollars of categorical funds and have been forced to make deep and harmful cuts. Our public universities have been devastated and are hemorrhaging students and staff. Our state’s credit rating has been downgraded eight times since Governor Rauner took office, wasting millions of Illinois taxpayer dollars on interest charges, and a further downgrade to junk status is imminent. And even worse damage is ahead of us.
Without a full budget with adequate, permanent new revenue for fiscal year 2018, state road construction projects will be suspended, costing us thousands of jobs. School districts across the state will be unable to open or complete a full school year without state funding. Life-saving healthcare and human services will disappear for millions of Illinoisans.
For years, we have used gimmicks, one-time fixes, and stop gap measures to fill the holes created by our insufficient revenue streams. Enough is enough. The Governor and the Illinois General Assembly must act now, before the end of the fiscal year, to raise adequate, permanent new revenue to prevent catastrophic cuts in the new year. Our leaders should not be distracted by stop gaps, half measures, or non-budget items. They should vote on and pass a full year budget with adequate, permanent new revenue now.
The Responsible Budget Coalition (RBC) is a large and diverse coalition of over 300 organizations concerned about state budget and tax issues. It includes organizations that serve children, families, veterans, seniors and people with disabilities; education groups concerned about early learning, K-12 and higher education; labor unions; faith-based and civic organizations; and many others.
The RBC is a non-partisan, trusted source of information on state budget and tax policy and a leader in the fight to pass a budget that chooses revenue over cuts to vital services.
The individual organizations that belong to the RBC represent a diverse range of interests but are united by these three common principles:
- Adequate revenue to support state priorities and make smart investments
- No more cuts to vital programs and services
- Fairness in raising revenue
For a PDF version of this statement, click here.