stadelman education forum rNo disagreement at forum: State needs to reform education funding

State Senator Steve Stadelman was joined by public school superintendents Ehren Jarrett of Rockford and Julie Morris of Harlem for a discussion of the outlook for education in Illinois' spring legislative session.

Much of the conversation at the League of Women Voters forum centered on the longstanding need to reform the way the state funds schools in a way that reduces the reliance on local property taxes.

Stadelman told the crowd at the North Suburban Library in Loves Park that Illinois currently pays about a quarter of the cost of operating schools across the state, which puts an unfair burden on poorer communities where teachers need more resources but where low property values produce less tax revenue to cover the state funding gap.

"Wealthy suburbs of Chicago spend twice as much per student, but their tax rates are two times lower," Stadelman said. "That creates great inequity across the state. We probably have the most inequitable funding system in the country."

Stadelman said he is hopeful that the Illinois Senate passes a bipartisan 2017 budget compromise that includes education funding reform among one of 13 pieces of legislation. A vote to advance the so-called grand bargain to the Illinois House could come as soon as Feb. 28.

•    WREX-13 report on League of Women Voters education forum

Pressure builds for Senate to bail out Rauner

Gov. Bruce Rauner last week unveiled a budget at least $4.6 billion out of balance that relies on the success of a Senate grand bargain to save the state’s finances. A deeper dive into the plan showed it actually may be unbalanced by more than $7 billion, according to analysts including the governor's own budget chief.

At a recent hearing, Senate Democrats asked the governor’s budget chief to defend the unbalanced proposal. From the Chicago Tribune's report on that hearing:

"Meanwhile, at the Capitol, Senate Democrats spent hours dismantling Rauner's budget proposal, hammering administration officials about the exact size of the plan's multibillion-dollar deficit. By the end of the contentious hearing, Rauner budget director Scott Harry acknowledged the spending plan is $7.2 billion out of whack without various savings and revenues built into the proposal that rely on changes in law which are far from fruition."

Category: Week in Review

300pxStadelmanStadelman reacts to governor's 2017 budget address

Senator Steve Stadelman released the following statement in response to Gov. Bruce Rauner's budget address this week: "I appreciate that Governor Rauner acknowledged the bipartisan effort of my colleagues in the Senate and our work on budget deal. I am, however, disappointed that he did not fulfill his constitutional duty to propose a balanced budget."

Rauner's proposal calls for $37 billion in spending but anticipates only $32 billion in revenue.

"Illinois has been greatly hurt by the unprecedented budget impasse," Stadelman said. "With funding now stopped for services for our most vulnerable citizens, it is more urgent than ever that we end this stalemate. In the Senate, I look forward to continuing to work toward a negotiated, bipartisan budget for the first time in over two years."

Stadelman helps pass 3 government reform bills

Steve Stadelman was among Senate Democrats who last week passed three good-government measures that are part of a closely watched balanced budget and government reform deal. The measures – government consolidation, procurement reform and financing relief for municipalities – were negotiated by lawmakers of both parties, but passed only with Democratic support.

"The state's fiscal crisis worsens by the day, so the remaining components of the budget deal need our approval as soon as possible," Stadelman said.  "The negotiations taking place in the Senate are the only comprehensive plans in the works to break the political gridlock that is damaging Illinois in so many ways."

Category: Week in Review

01252017CM0043 rSenate budget deal in progress; Stadelman reacts to State of the State address

Efforts continue in the Illinois Senate’s to craft a bipartisan compromise and break the two-year budget stalemate that has crippled state finances and economic growth. Newspapers throughout Illinois are heralding negotiations between Senate President John Cullerton, a Democrat, and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, a Republican, as a potential breakthrough in a historic budget standoff that otherwise appears to have no end in sight.

The deal could be voted on when lawmakers return to Springfield the week of Feb. 7. Among its components are property tax relief, local government consolidation, procurement reform, workers compensation reform, school funding reform and gaming expansion.

Even Governor Bruce Rauner, in his 2017 budget address this week, praised the Senate for taking the lead in forging an agreement.

“I appreciate the governor’s acknowledgement," Stadelman said. "However, weeks after state funding ended for higher education and services for our most vulnerable citizens, the governor once again failed to lay out his own plan to address the two-year budget impasse. Compromise is difficult and takes time, but I look forward to continuing to work in the Senate toward a negotiated, bipartisan and long overdue spending plan.”

Stadelman offers utility bill clinic this week

State Senator Steve Stadelman has invited experts from the Citizens Utility Board to conduct a free clinic where local consumers can learn ways to reduce their gas, electric and landline telephone bills. The clinic will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 31 at Rockford Public Library East Branch, 6685 State St., Rockford.

CUB advisors will offer one-on-one analysis of gas, electric and landline phone bills, information on spotting billing errors and incentives designed to help people improve energy efficiency.

“Utility costs always take a bite out of people’s wallets in the dead of winter, when people are also faced with holiday bills coming due,” Stadelman said. “This workshop offers a chance to learn about all the cost-savings options that are available."

Consumers are encouraged to call or email to secure an appointment, but walk-ins are also welcome on a first-come, first-served basis. Refreshments will be provided. To register for the clinic, please call Adjua Goosby at 312-263-4282 ext. 111 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. using the subject line: Rockford 1/31.

 

Category: Week in Review

Stadelman: Jet repair business promises to rev up local economy

Senator Steve Stadelman emphasized the importance of public-private partnerships and
intergovernmental cooperation this week at the ribbon-cutting for the AAR Corp. jet repair facility
at Chicago-Rockford International Airport.

The 200,000-square-foot hangar is expected to employ 150 mechanics by summer and 500
workers overall with as many as 1,000 jobs when fully operational. Federal, state and local
governments are contributing to the $40 million cost of the project.

"We cannot underestimate the value of the either the short-term construction jobs or the quality
long-term employment opportunities AAR has brought and will continue to bring to the Rockford
area," Stadelman said. "The facility also enhances the power of the airport as an economic
engine for our community."

STadelmanceremony

Stadelman bill to ease former inmate transition becomes law
Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed into law a proposal to require the Department of Corrections
to issue an ID card that is valid for 90 days when an individual is released from incarceration.
Steve Stadelman was a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 3368, passed the General Assembly recently
during veto session.
 
Under the current process, inmates must request a 30-day ID through the DOC and later apply
for a standard state ID through the Secretary of State. Inmates who have been released often
struggle to obtain their standard state IDs due to a failure to obtain proof of identity, lack of
funds to pay for the ID or other clerical issues. Failing to have a state ID can make it significantly
harder to reintegrate back into society.
 
“These inmates have already served their time," Stadelman said. " This bipartisan legislation
will make it easier for them to again become productive members of society.”
 
Stadelman honors parolee grads and youth outreach volunteers

State Senator Steve Stadelman congratulated 28 graduates of GEO Reentry Services
parolee acclimation program this week (bottom) and presented each with Certificates of
Recognition from the Illinois Senate commending them for their commitment to
self-improvement and mastery of new life skills.

Positive Reflections Community Outreach CEO Janene Stephenson and other volunteer
organizers (top) also received honors from Springfield when Senator Stadelman visited
the group's annual Youth Holiday Party at Patriots Gateway Center.

Stadelmanholidayparty

Category: Week in Review

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Contact Info

Springfield Office:
Senator 34th District
121A Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8022
 
District Office:
200 S. Wyman St.
Rockford, IL 61101
(815) 987-7557
(815) 987-7529 FAX