Biss and Tichenor 01252017 350SPRINGFIELD – Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) issued the following statement regarding Gov. Bruce Rauner’s state of the state address today:

“Gov. Bruce Rauner just finished his annual State of the State address, heralding bipartisanship and calling on our moral obligation to work together on behalf of the people of Illinois. Those are powerful words. Unfortunately, the last two years have shown us that they are just words to him.

“On the governor’s watch, Illinois has undergone a crisis unmatched in our nation’s history. Years without a real budget have taken a terrible toll on our state. Without a real budget our economy has weakened, and our citizens have less opportunity. In fact, the only thing that has increased is the number of people leaving Illinois.

“Bruce Rauner campaigned on the promise to fix Illinois, but he's done the exact opposite. Instead, by refusing to back down from his polarizing political agenda, Gov. Rauner has harmed the very people he was sent to represent.

“I invite the governor to put aside the rhetoric and join me in discussing the issues that will make a difference for all Illinoisans. We must begin by balancing our budget with a fair tax system that gives a break to the middle class while asking billionaires to pay their fair share.

“If we do this right, then next year Gov. Rauner will be able to give a state of the state address that, rather than dodging the hard truths and evading responsibility, can proudly explain that our state is strong, prosperous and improving.”

 

Illinois has not had a full annual budget since June of 2015. Some consequences of the impasse in 2016 included:

  • Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, the state’s largest social service provider, announced mass program closures and layoffs because of the stalemate.
  • 55,000 fewer children of low-income working parents were able to take advantage of the state’s Child Care Assistance Program because Rauner slashed funding for the program.
  • More than $1.1 billion was cut from higher education funding for state universities and community colleges – a more than 70 percent reduction in state support.
  • State payments to K-12 schools for transportation, special education and free and reduced-price lunches were delayed by months, causing a ripple effect for staff and families in districts across the state.
  • Illinois’ bill backlog climbed to $11 billion.

 

Pictured above: Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) talks about Wednesday's state of the state address with Jak Tichenor, host of WSIU-TV’s “Illinois Lawmakers,” during a live broadcast from the House chamber.

Category: Latest

IllinoisCapitolOur nation is emerging from a year of anger and preparing for a time of tremendous uncertainty. The presidential inauguration is just two weeks away, leaving many of us fearful of the consequences for civil rights, civil liberties, economic fairness and ethics in government.

This transition might have a significant spillover effect on state government, as the threatened reckless repeal of the Affordable Care Act would take away Medicaid coverage from many hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans, while additional proposed vicious changes to federal programs would further leave our residents in the lurch.

These terrible possibilities of course exist against a backdrop of a broken state government, one that now exists without any kind of budget at all, after stumbling through the previous six months with an irresponsible stopgap funding plan that, while better than nothing, did not provide stability or address our long-term problem.

In other words, Illinois politicians have failed us, and federal politicians are threatening to do the same.

In a situation like this, we have a choice to make. We must surely resist policies that would erode progress already made and freedoms already achieved. We have to fight to make Illinois a welcoming state for immigrants and refugees, for people of color and the LGBT community.

We cannot allow our achievements on health care and retirement security to slip away because of poor decisions made either on the federal or the state level.

Some would say that this is enough, that all we have to do is to stop bad things from happening.

They are wrong. It is never enough just to say no.

Read more: We're anxious. Let's talk about it.

Category: Latest

Biss Town Hall jpg 350

EVANSTON – Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) is inviting area residents to join him for an update about developments in Springfield and a discussion about how they can be advocates for the principles they value.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17 at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster St. in Evanston.

Biss will discuss recent developments in state government, his legislative agenda for the spring and what he sees as potential paths out of the budget stalemate.

He also will lead a conversation about opportunities to communicate with the governor and other elected leaders about the direction the state is headed and which programs and services should be preserved.

The event is free and open to the public.

What: Town hall meeting with Senator Daniel Biss
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17
Where: Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster St., Evanston

Category: Latest

hearing12132016CHICAGO – Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) issued the following statement regarding the findings of today’s joint Senate and House hearing about the abuse and neglect of developmentally disabled men and women in taxpayer-funded group homes throughout Illinois:

“Today we heard testimony from a variety of people who care deeply about the well-being and the safety of developmentally disabled men and women throughout Illinois.

“But the State of Illinois is failing these vulnerable residents every day that goes by without implementing comprehensive, meaningful changes to address the root causes of the alarming, gut-wrenching stories documented in the Chicago Tribune’s ‘Suffering in Secret’ series.

“I appreciate the testimony of Secretary Dimas and Inspector General McCotter, as well as the action they already have taken to address problems and their recommendations for changes going forward.

“However, I am disappointed that some of my colleagues in the legislature view this crisis as an opportunity for political finger-pointing rather than a moment for bipartisan cooperation to save lives and pave the way for a better future for vulnerable Illinoisans.

“Let’s not pretend that the solutions to this very serious problem lie in the past. The solutions can only be found in partnership with the current governor and his administration – one that went to great lengths to conceal important information about group home abuse and neglect from the public, from the victims’ families and from the media.

“It is incumbent upon Gov. Rauner to give this crisis the attention it deserves, to put forth a budget for the state of Illinois and to ensure financial and staff resources are put where they’re most desperately needed today.

“Not only does that include working with the Legislature to designate money to properly pay group home caregivers, it also means immediately filling the lapsed gubernatorial appointments on the board that oversees these group homes for developmentally disabled adults.

“All of us – Gov. Rauner, the Legislature, state officials, group home operators and caregivers – have a moral obligation to do all we can to prevent any more instances of the kinds of abuse, neglect and death that were documented by the Tribune.

“My heart goes out to the families that are grappling with the state’s failure to protect their loved ones as it promised to do. It’s clear to me that the time has come for significant changes in what clearly is a flawed system.”

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:
senatorbiss@gmail.com

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