State Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez today joined Governor Bruce Rauner and Auburn School District 10 Superintendent Darren Root in support of fair school funding that provides the best outcome for Sangamon County schools. Rep. Jimenez (R-Leland Grove) stressed that additional dollars for Chicago Public Schools contained in Senate Bill 1 takes potential funding from our local schools.    

“We have a chance to make history and adopt a new school funding plan that for the first time ensures all school districts in Illinois are equitably and adequately funded.  Unfortunately, under Senate Bill 1, a majority of new funds for education is directed to CPS.  That’s not fair and equitable, and it’s money that comes directly out of our local schools’ budgets,” Rep. Jimenez said.

“Our state and our district is in desperate need of a new formula and I’m urging all sides of this issue to come together on a solution that is good for all districts in Illinois,” said Darren Root, Superintendent of Auburn Unit School District 10.

This spring, Rep. Jimenez and many of her colleagues in the Legislature pushed for passage of a similar funding reform proposal (HB 4069/SB 1124) that would have more fairly distributed funding statewide but neither bill was allowed a vote. Senate Bill 1 passed both the House and Senate, but supporters have used a procedural maneuver to block it from being acted upon by the Governor, leaving all schools in the lurch. Rep. Jimenez today called on Democrat colleagues to either release Senate Bill 1 so that the Governor may make his promised changes and return it to the Legislature, or allow a vote on the alternative bills.

“Our alternative funding bills would provide more than one million dollars in additional funding for school districts here in the 99th Legislative District,” Rep. Jimenez said. “It’s is not fair to give CPS more than its fair share at the expense of other school districts around the state which are also struggling and need our help. That’s not reform. It’s the same rigged system that got our state into this mess. Stand with us to fix the inequities in Senate Bill 1 so children in each school district can thrive.”                                                 

What a Balanced Budget Means
• Ending decades of fiscal irresponsibility by balancing the budget through spending reductions of over $3 billion (Current spending level is near $40 billion), the budget passed this week spends $36.5 billion
• There will be a stream of revenue dedicated to paying down the backlog of unpaid bills.
• Medical providers and vendors waiting for State payments will begin to see some payments made to what they are owed
• Schools will receive funding that will allow them to start on time this fall
• Provides certainty for higher education institutions including the University of Illinois Springfield, Lincoln Land Community College, and SIU School of Medicine
• Transportation infrastructure projects will continue across the state
• Social service and human service provides will be properly funded and the most vulnerable will be cared for

Failure to Pass a Balanced Budget
• Bill backlog will continue to grow (currently at nearly $15 billion) to a record $22 billion by the end of FY 18 (Report: Illinois unpaid bills to hit $22B by 2018)
• Springfield area hospitals and providers will wait even longer for payment
o Hundreds of millions of dollars is currently owed to Springfield area medical providers. (Orthopedic Center requiring up-front payments from state workers)
• State credit rating will be downgraded to junk bond status (first US State ever to reach that) resulting in record costs to borrow (Illinois could soon become America's first 'junk' state)
• Schools will not receive general state aid and likely will not be able to open on time in the fall (School districts forced to consider dooms day plans thanks to state budget impasse)
• Transportation infrastructure projects around the state will end immediately, impacting over 30,000 jobs (Illinois Road Construction Shutdown Leads to Layoffs Amid Budget Impasse)
• The State will experience a serious cash flow problem following the recent court ruling on how much the State must reimburse Medicaid providers each month to the tune of $2 billion more than is currently being spent (Judge Rules Illinois Not in Compliance on Medicaid Payments)
Statement of Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez on today’s budget and revenue votes in the House:

‘Today was the toughest day in my professional life.

Since the day I was sworn into office in November 2015, Illinois has been in crisis. I became State Representative six months into this budget impasse. Since then, our financial situation as a state has deteriorated to the point that we are hours away from junk bond status, which means that with every day we delay, the tax increases will be higher and the cuts will be deeper.

For the past several months I have been meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House to work towards a compromised solution that will end this budget impasse.  I continue to believe the path forward is through a combination of cuts, reforms, and revenue to a balanced budget.

Today's budget responsibly reduces spending by more than $3 billion, begins to pay down our backlog of bills, and provides desperately needed resources for our colleges, universities, human service providers, social services, and other vital services. Most importantly, this is a budget that is truly balanced.

No one ever wants to pay more in taxes, but there has been no legitimate proposal introduced this spring by the Governor, Republicans or Democrats that didn't include a need for more revenue to balance the budget.

By passing a balanced budget we can finally begin to climb out of the enormous financial hole and prevent a further erosion of our credit rating. Today’s vote is not the end of our crisis but a step in the right direction. We didn’t get into this mess overnight and we certainly won’t get out of it overnight either. I am committed to working in a bipartisan manner to continue the work of passing meaningful reforms that will grow our economy and create jobs across Illinois. This balanced budget package is the first step toward stabilizing our state and putting us on the right track for years to come.”  

                                                                      -Rep. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez, 99th District