Letter to the Editor: Cautiously Hopeful for November 18th

Governor Bruce Rauner and the four legislative leaders are set to meet on November 18th. We are in our 5th month without a budget and yet this is the first meeting between the state leaders in months.

That is not to say that efforts haven’t been made towards solutions. State Representative Franks (D-Woodstock) has proposed a two year budget to give much-needed stability to health and human service providers, taxpayers, and job creators alike. Representative Batinick (R-Plainfield) has proposed a series of hearings on how the State could potentially approach a lump sum pension or partial pension exchange option as a method to ease the pension crisis. Both of these proposals have yet to receive consideration by the House, remaining bottled up by Speaker Madigan. On the House floor, I’ve appealed for a bi-partisan approach to evaluate each program’s funding as a part of a larger process of setting spending priorities. However, bi-partisan efforts from the rank and file to move the ball forward have thus far been stymied.

I would welcome an opportunity to debate every proposed solution to the state’s budget challenges on the House floor or in committee in an open and honest fashion. The House is back in session on November 10th, but if it’s anything like the past several months, no meaningful solutions will be considered or serious negotiations held on reforms to resolve this impasse.

I’m hopeful that the leaders’ meeting with the Governor on November 18th will jump start much-needed discussions on setting budget priorities and business reforms, which will ultimately help expand our tax base. I am optimistic because the rank and file members of the General Assembly on both sides of the aisle realize this, and real solutions have been put forward. I’m hopeful that all parties involved will make a bi-partisan balanced budget our shared priority.

However, I’m wary because in spite of the sincere attempts at finding common ground among legislators on both sides of the aisle and all of the concessions made by Governor Rauner toward reaching compromise, Speaker Madigan remains unmoved.

For the sake of a productive meeting, restoring opportunity and growth to Illinois, and taking vulnerable children and families out of the political crossfire in Springfield, I’m calling on Speaker Madigan to come to the table on November 18th in a true spirit of compromise.

Margo McDermed
State Representative 37th District