Politicians talk Illinois budget

U.S. Representative Darin LaHood (R-IL) and other state legislators discuss the ongoing budget crisis in Illinois and how it is impacting K-12 education at the Administrators’ Roundtable. The special guests included State Senator David Koehler (D-46), State Representative Randy Frese (R-94), and State Representative Norine Hammond (R-93).

Erika Ward

“I never thought that we would be four months into a fiscal year and not have a deal,” LaHood said.  “I know that causes a lot of frustration for you (the administrators) out in the field, but we have to come together to solve the budget crisis in Illinois.”

“We need leaders all over the state to step up and solve these problems and help bring Illinois back to the great state that we know we can be,” LaHood continued.

Rep. Donald Moffitt, of the 74th District, said he believes the standstill on the budget in Springfield is largely due to the opposing views of Gov. Bruce Rauner and Speaker of the House Michael Madigan.

“It’s like two powerful equals — who’ve never had an equal before — are in disagreement and standing very firmly,” Moffitt said.

Sen. David Koehler said that tax reform is going to be the way that the state solves the current budget issues.

“We need, across the board, comprehensive tax reform,” Koehler said.  “We are one of the few states that don’t put a sales tax on a lot of services.  That’s the growth of our economy — the service industry.”

State Representative of the 93rd District Norine Hammond said that she was very concerned about the current financial state of Illinois.

“We are continuing to spend at a pace with money that we don’t have,” Hammond said.  “We are certain that the state of Illinois will take in about $32 billion this fiscal year.  At the rate we are currently spending, we will spend about $37 billion, maybe upwards of that.”

Rep. Randy Frese, of the 94th District, is expecting difficulty in solving the state’ crisis.

“We didn’t get here overnight, it’s not going to be cleaned up overnight,” Frese said.  “We need good, young leaders to stay involved.”