Jimenez: We Must Put Partisanship Aside, Compromise on a Responsible Budget

"In the age of discourse at the state’s capitol and on the national scene, we must find ways to work
together.  Find areas where we can agree, continue to work on the places we disagree.  Stop the name calling and the attacks.  This is part of the reason we find ourselves in this stalemate.  The other reason is that we have to stop spending money we don’t have.

We don’t have the money to pay our current backlog of bills.  Even if we ask taxpayers to pay more—that will help fill in the holes of current obligations—not new ones—for years to come.
Telling the truth about our financial situation is a difficult conversation to have.  All of the conversations we will have about potential cuts, reforms and revenue options will be uncomfortable.

I’ve been serving as the state representative for six months.  Many people will try to define me as this or that.  My door has been wide open to discuss concerns about bills and suggestions for solutions.   But the bottom line is—our state is broke.  Whether you are a person or business that does business with the state, gets paid by the state or is a taxpayer—we have to change our behavior.

Since taking office in December, I have been focused on finding bipartisan solutions that will end the budget impasse and provide stability and predictability within State government. While we have yet to adopt a comprehensive budget solution, there has been small progress made. The General Assembly has passed, and the Governor has signed, an emergency stopgap appropriation to fund our colleges and universities through the summer. This stopgap received strong bipartisan support at a time when Republicans and Democrats are increasingly divided. Next, the General Assembly passed a stopgap appropriation to fund vital human services such as sexual assault centers right here in Springfield that serve men and women during very difficult moments. I urge the Governor to sign this bill.

I’ve recently met with the Governor to tell him how important it is for our area to come to an agreement on a complete budget solution.While the General Assembly has made some progress on these emergency appropriations, there is much for work to do to get Illinois on the right track. There are several initiatives I am working on right now that will not only help the residents of the 99th District, but our entire State.

 First, I have introduced legislation that will reopen the Illinois State Museum. This legislation will give the State the flexibility it needs to maintain the State Museum by charging an admission fee. This common sense reform will reopen the Museum, preserve state jobs, and allow the museum to maintain its accreditation so all the residents of Illinois can enjoy this wonderful institution.

 Next, the House recently passed a Joint Resolution, which I introduced, to urge all State agencies to create a report on state employment and justify why those jobs can’t be located in the Capital city. The City of Springfield has lost a lot of State jobs over the past decade and this resolution will start the much needed conversation on bringing State jobs back to the Capital of Illinois.

Finally, I am supporting legislation to appropriate funds to pay the back pay that is owed to State workers. This is one of our oldest outstanding bills and it is long past time to pay the wages that were promised to State workers.  One vote on a bill does not define my support for State workers and the important work they do every day. I am committed to finding lasting solutions that will provide certainty to State workers.

We must find a way to balance our budget, find long-term stability for Illinois taxpayers and begin to climb out of the enormous hole. I am committed to working with Republicans and Democrats to find a path forward so we can end the budget impasse, get our finances in order, and help to grow our economy for the benefit for all of those who live in the 99th district and the entire state of Illinois."