Biss05232017State Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) issued the following statement regarding today’s vote in the Illinois Senate to advance a balanced budget proposal and take a small step toward the fiscal stability Illinois so desperately needs after two years of chaos and mismanagement under Gov. Bruce Rauner:

“It’s time to stop the dangerous, unproductive, two-year staring contest in Springfield.

“A budget is a statement of priorities, and while this one is far from perfect, it reflects some core priorities – health care for the poor, P-12 schools, higher education, an increase in the tax credit for low-income workers and vital services for those who need our help. It offers some short-term stability by making different choices and calling on everyone to share the burden of cleaning up Gov. Bruce Rauner’s failures.

“But long-term solutions to our fiscal problems will require bigger reform to create a fair tax system. We must repeal our constitution’s unjust and unusual flat tax provision; we must finally require millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share; and we must eliminate the current carried interest tax loophole that allows the super wealthy to evade state taxes.

“That’s why I am pleased that today we made progress toward establishing each of these policies and building the fair economy that is our only hope for long-term economic health.

“These are the kinds of honest solutions that taxpayers want lawmakers to find the courage to pursue. Until we do that, we will continue to fight budget battles like these – battles that result in winners and lowers – over and over again.”

Category: Latest

Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) issued the following statement regarding Gov. Bruce Rauner’s role in implementing the package of bills considered today by the Illinois Senate:

“Gov. Rauner expects lawmakers to give him unchecked freedom to overhaul the state’s Medicaid program that insures the poorest Illinois children and senior citizens, but he’s given us absolutely no reason to trust his judgment about what’s best for the people of Illinois.

“Gov. Rauner has refused to do his job and introduce a balanced budget and instead has claimed in public to support bipartisan Senate negotiations while secretly torpedoing that same work. We have no reason to trust him with carte blanche authority to destroy our safety net and punish the most vulnerable.

“I am not willing to give Gov. Rauner emergency rulemaking authority to implement Trumpcare in Illinois or cause undocumented children to lose coverage.

“In the meantime, Gov. Rauner is doing his best to dismantle the Community Care Program that tens of thousands of seniors rely on to live in dignity in their homes, and I cannot support a budget that facilitates his efforts to do just that.

“Our state urgently needs a budget, and I will continue to do all I can to move us toward a fair budget resolution that adequately funds our priorities. I stand ready to work with anyone toward that goal, and I am prepared to compromise.

“But I will not accept the premise that we must balance our budget on the backs of senior citizens and the poor.”

Category: Press Releases

Measure would amplify ordinary people’s voice in government

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Daniel Biss’ measure to bring small donor matching to Illinois to ensure government better reflects the people it serves advanced out of the Illinois Senate Tuesday.

“Everyone who is frustrated today by the influence that corporations and billionaires wield over politicians and the policy decisions they make should support the concept of small donor matching,” said Biss, an Evanston Democrat.

“This is one way we can restore the balance of power in government and ensure that average people – those who represent Main Street America and middle-class values, not Wall Street and the corporate class – have greater influence over the decisions that are made in Springfield and elsewhere.”

Senate Bill 1424 would establish a small donor matching system for statewide races in Illinois, including governor, attorney general, comptroller, treasurer, secretary of state, state senators and state representatives. The system empowers ordinary people to compete financially and ideologically with special interests and wealthy donors. It also opens up the playing field to more diverse candidates for office and leads to more options at the ballot box.

Senate Bill 1424 would weaken the influence of money in Illinois elections by doing the following:

  • Contributions between $25 and $150 from local donors would be matched 6:1 by public funds.
  • Limits would be set on the amount of public funds available to each candidate.
  • Candidates would not be able to accept contributions of more than $500 from a single donor.

Under the legislation, the General Assembly could appropriate money to a special fund in the state treasury. The funds would be either $1 per Illinois resident or 1/20th of 1 percent of the state’s annual budget, whichever is greater.

“It’s time for Illinois to step up to the plate and implement this important reform, which would ensure that the voices of local donors are amplified in Illinois elections,” said David Melton, senior advisor to the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, which supports the legislation. “Everyone should have an opportunity to run for office and participate in the political process.”

Proponents from Common Cause Illinois said fair-election initiatives like small donor matching are gaining momentum all over the country. Such efforts are borne of people’s frustration with the growing influence of wealthy special interests in government and the political system. Illinois is no exception, said Jay Young, political director with Common Cause Illinois.

“During the last election, we watched campaign spending in this state spiral out of control with nine local statehouse races exceeding $2 million in contributions,” Young said. “Proposals like Senate Bill 1424 provide candidates with the option to break the cycle of chasing larger and larger checks.”

Biss added that Illinois can’t afford not to pursue small donor matching, particularly in light of the state budget stalemate and the harmful influence of the corporate class at the highest levels of state government.

In 2014, Illinois saw the highest percent of total contributions from large donors in the United States, with $108.8 million from just 21 donors. Fifty-one percent of total candidate contributions were from donors who gave over $1 million in that election cycle.

“This is a structural reform that everyone should be able to agree is good for Illinois and its future,” Biss said.

Category: Press Releases

Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) discusses Senate Bill 1351, the student loan bill of rights, which would help to protect Illinois students from predatory college lenders.

"The terrible news here is the federal government is not doing its job," Biss said. "Under President Trump, the U.S. Department of Education is now rolling back consumer protections, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is under significant threat. And so the states have no choice but to step in."

The legislation passed in the Senate Wednesday and now moves to the House for consideration.

Category: Latest

Contact Me

District office:
3706 Dempster St.
Skokie, IL 60076
(847) 568-1250
(847) 568-1256 FAX

Springfield office:
417B Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-2119

Email:
biss@senatedem.illinois.gov

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