The following statement was released Thursday after Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, voted to pass a temporary budget aimed at funding critical services, schools and state facilities:
“The fact that the many of Southern Illinois’ most vulnerable residents have suffered because of the state’s inability to enact a state budget is embarrassing. Senior citizens, people with disabilities, and homeless veterans have all been hurt due to this impasse.
“The passage of this emergency stopgap budget marks a good example that when people put aside their political differences and focus on serving the people, progress can be made. What is important is that we do not lose sight of this fact and continue to craft a full-year balanced state budget.”
“The proposal that I supported will avoid multiple catastrophes, namely making sure that Southern Illinois schools open on time, while also bringing more desperately needed resources into our region’s classrooms. Despite the governor’s efforts to cut education funding during negotiations, I have stood firm for additional school resources for Southern Illinois because our students deserve it.”
“Funding for vital programs like those for children with disabilities, rape crisis centers, and services for the elderly are also included in this plan. Southern Illinois’ taxpayers have suffered more than other residents throughout the state. Municipalities throughout our region are owed for subsidizing utility costs for state facilities to keep them operational. This plan will help to settle those debts Also, residents who have been impacted by flooding in Alexander County will also see relief.”
“Despite recent claims that I support bailing out Chicago’s public schools, I stood in strong opposition and voted against two proposals today that would send our hard-earned tax dollars up to Chicago. The students of Southern Illinois are just as important as the students of Chicago and I believe we need to provide property tax relief for our residents. I have spent my career fighting for the people of Southern Illinois, from the kindergarten students to the elderly. I stand ready and willing to roll up my sleeves and complete the work we were sent here to do.”