By Jason Musselman
Now is the time to pass a budget says Illinois State Senator Chuck Weaver, representing the 37th Senate District.
Senator Weaver spent last Thursday on a media tour that included The News to drive home his point of urgency on the state’s budget impasse.
“People need to be reminded of the past pain and there’s an underlying problem that has to be resolved,” says Sen. Weaver. “A temporary fix only masks the current pain.”
Sen. Weaver says the situation breaks down in simple terms to this: The State of Illinois has $100 in its checkbook, $7,000 in bills due and $100,000 in credit card bills. If you add six zeros to the end of those numbers you get the actual figures lawmakers are dealing with.
The pain of working now eight months without a budget is ever so real in the social services agencies says Sen. Weaver. And while lawmakers and Governor Bruce Rauner work to reach an agreement, Sen. Weaver says we’d be foolish to not work on reform in the meanwhile.
Some of what the Governor is asking for as part of the budget includes term limits, legal reform, and remapping of the districts, all polices that Gov. Rauner ran his campaign on.
“We’ve got to have a budget with reforms tied to it,” said Sen. Weaver. And while money is what the budget is all about, Sen. Weaver says just adding taxes isn’t the only solution. “We can’t raise taxes without change.”
Thankfully there is some hope of bipartisanship on other issues before lawmakers and the Governor. Sen. Weaver reported that the Senate President, Democrat John Cullerton, has been working with the governor on education funding and pension reform, two other hot topic items.
For school funding, a 2% increase each year and nine other items would help low income, rural and urban schools. An option to let the employer decide on pensions could save $1 billion a year, added Sen. Weaver.
As for when the State of Illinois will see a 2016 budget is anyone’s guess, but after eight months Sen. Weaver says we must keep pushing.
The freshman senator added he’s been doing about two visits a day within his district and is always willing to hear from his constituents. Sen. Weaver makes the trip to Stark County on the second Friday of every month and added he’s available via email at [email protected]