The McDermed Dispatch for May 16th

There are just 13 scheduled session days before the General Assembly is to adjourn for the summer. 

Human Services Stopgap

            The House and Senate approved $700 million dollars in emergency appropriations to various human service providers and community based programs. The bill, SB 2038, uses no General Revenue Fund money, instead relying on the over $400 million in the Commitment to Human Services Fund and the rest from a variety of other smaller state funds. Since the bill is fully funded, groups will receive their money almost soon as the Governor signs the bill, instead of being added to the back of the line of a growing list of unpaid bills. Agencies and groups appropriated include programs to help support mental health, homelessness, families of persons with developmental disabilities, and breast and cervical cancer screenings.

Budget Group Presents Proposal

       Illinois remains the only state without a budget and some states have even passed their budgets for this next year, effectively “lapping” us. A group of bipartisan rank and file legislators made up of budget experts from both chambers have been working over the past few weeks to come to some form of an agreement. Illinois Budget Director Tim Nuding sat in on many of the group’s budget discussions. They have submitted a proposal to Governor Rauner and the Democrat leaders that is meant to serve as a starting point for budget negotiations. The budget working group’s proposal has not been made public, but some details have leaked. The deal includes both spending cuts and new revenue. This is far from a set or done agreement, but there is cautious optimism on both sides that this compromise effort will be seen positively by party leaders and provide direction going forward.

School Funding Formula Fix Debated

         A proposal from Senator Andy Manar to change the 1991 school funding formula passed the Senate 31-21-3 last week. Senator Manar’s proposal is an attempt to address what almost everyone agrees is an unequal and outdated school funding formula. More so than the previous formula, it would take in to account a district’s property wealth and economic profile when allocating state education funds. The legislation is seen as particularly favorable to Chicago as, in addition to Chicago receiving a dedicated percentage of state funds regardless of need, it also requires the payment of $200 million in to the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund.
         Sen. Manar’s formula would, over the course of several years, shift state funding away from some schools and direct it to the districts with the most poverty and least local resources. Changing the state school funding formula is both complex and necessary, but this bill would have a devastating impact on funding for the schools in our district so should Sen Manar’s bill come to the floor for a vote, I will be against it.
         Over the past decade, the state has been prorating, or paying less than what it should, of the school formula’s per student foundation level. Governor Rauner increased the state contribution last year and has proposed paying 100% of the foundation level this year and until a new funding formula can be found.

District 37 Residents Shine In Springfield and at Home
In Springfield, Glenda Corbett received an award for disability advocate of the year
Tech day in the Capitol building brought students from LW 210 to help showcase technology use in classrooms
Yesterday the Cancer Support Center’s ‘Walk of Hope’ in Frankfort raised over $100k for this valuable community resource

Identity Theft and Fraud

        I’ve been informed that our area is seeing a lot of IRS scam calls. Always remember to be careful when sharing personal or financial information, especially over the phone. At my recent identity theft seminar we learned that if you are in trouble with the IRS, they will mail you. If you were unable to attend the identity theft and fraud event in April, you can read the Attorney General’s office PowerPoint from the event here.