House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, D-Chicago, issued the following statement Wednesday after Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Budget Address:
“Throughout my time in state government, legislators and governors from both parties have agreed that the state budget must be a priority. While the House has passed a number of budget bills to fund critical services for seniors, children and public safety, it appears that for the third straight year Governor Rauner has failed to introduce a balanced budget.
“As the governor told a newspaper recently, his plan is to ‘stay the course.’ That means continuing to use the disabled, the elderly, school children, victims of abuse, and many others as negotiating tools in his effort to increase profits of big corporations at the expense of middle class and struggling families. ‘Staying the course’, as the Governor wishes, means billions of dollars in new debt, and lost services for tens of thousands of Illinois’ most vulnerable children, seniors and families.
“Unlike the governor’s ‘stay the course’ plan, Democrats are proposing a new way forward. We want to work cooperatively with the governor to pass a full-year balanced budget and improve our economy, but we don’t accept that the only way to create jobs is by cutting wages and stripping away protections for workers in an effort to increase profits for businesses – all at the expense of middle-class families. We will pass reforms that lift up the middle class and provide good jobs for working families while also helping businesses grow and expanding our economy.
“We want solutions that address the challenges Illinois is facing right now. We continue to urge the governor to join us and pass a full-year budget that provides for the needs of middle class and struggling families, cares for the elderly, invests in our schools, and keeps our communities safe.”