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PEORIA – Governor Bruce Rauner has vetoed landmark legislation that would rewrite Illinois’ unfair school funding formula. State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) issued the following statement:

“I am profoundly disappointed that the governor has vetoed this new formula that would guarantee all schools are fairly funded. Despite the governor’s veto, I believe that negotiations should continue in order to fix the formula. Should those talks fail, I support overriding the governor’s veto.”

Category: Press Releases

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"It is time to stop pitting one part of the state against the other for political purposes.” - State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria)

PEORIA – Governor Bruce Rauner has once again called for a special session of the Illinois General Assembly. The governor has said he will veto a school funding reform measure supported by over one hundred school superintendents and dozens of school districts.

State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) issued the following statement:

“Governor Rauner has demonstrated once again that he favors campaigning over governing. Rather than focusing on how he could work constructively with the General Assembly, he calls Blagojevich-style special sessions that only waste taxpayers’ dollars.

“I am calling on the governor to sign a bill that his own administration says he supports 90% of. It is time to stop pitting one part of the state against the other for political purposes.”

Category: Press Releases

053116CM1472Now that we have a budget for the first time in over two years, it is important to me that you truly understand how this budget came together and what is included.

To start off, it is important to keep in mind that without this budget, the State was spending at the same level we were spending at when we had a 5% income tax. We have not had a 5% income tax since January 2015, when it dropped back down to 3.75%. So, without this budget, because of court-ordered spending, Illinois would have been spending roughly $39 billion while only taking in approximately $32 billion.

Nobody wants their taxes raised, including myself. Before we considered any new revenues, we worked on cutting state spending. In the end, we cut almost $3 billion in state spending. It was only after we cut what amounts to almost 10% of spending that we looked at new revenues.

Many of those spending cuts were cuts that our Republican colleagues requested. Despite that, this budget, in many ways, was the budget the Republicans wanted. Unfortunately, the governor still told them not to vote for it.

Under the new budget, the income tax will increase from 3.75% to 4.95%. When the governor took office, he asked the General Assembly to allow the tax hike passed under Pat Quinn to go down from 5% to 3.75%. Since he has taken office, the governor has never proposed a truly balanced budget that makes up for the lost revenue. 4.95% is the figure Governor Rauner and the Republicans wanted.

Our budget even spends less than the unbalanced budget the governor proposed in February. When he proposed that budget, he endorsed the Senate's efforts in passing the "Grand Bargain" which relied on new revenues to balance the budget.

The governor has also stated that he did not sign the budget because we did not pass any reforms. We enacted pension reforms that governor asked for that will save the taxpayers' money. We passed school funding reforms which will guarantee that all public school students go to a school that is fairly funded. We passed procurement reforms that will cut red tape and save the state money. We passed local government consolidation reforms that will make it easier to decrease the number of local governments. In addition to these reforms, both the Speaker and the President of the Senate have agreed to continue working on additional reforms to continue to move Illinois forward.

Additionally, we increased funding for K-12 schools and fully funding colleges like Illinois Central College and Spoon River Community College. We fund critical human and social services like domestic violence shelters. We balance the budget and provide financial stability so we can begin rebuilding our state's credit rating which will also save us money.

I understand that most people will be upset that their taxes were increased. However, the alternative of not having a budget was simply not an option. Our state's finances could have been permanently damaged and taxpayers would have been on the hook for even more in the future. Our universities could have lost accreditation and been forced to close and many public schools could have not opened in the fall.

We finally have a budget, but we must continue working to pass reforms that will make the state competitive without hurting workers. I stand firm in my commitment to work with my Republican colleagues to move in Illinois forward and make sure we never go through this again.

Category: News

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SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate voted today for a balanced budget that would end the budget impasse plaguing the state. State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) issued the following statement:

“Today’s vote in Springfield was one of the most important votes I’ve ever taken. This budget impasse has made far too many of my fellow Illinois residents suffer. Now that we have a comprehensive balanced budget, we can begin to put the pieces of our state back together.

“We must also continue to work on reforms with our Republican colleagues. It is has always been the goal of the Senate Democrats to pass both a budget and reforms that will help move the state forward.”

Category: Press Releases

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Contact Info

Springfield Office:
M113 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8250

Peoria Office:
400 NE Jefferson, Suite 200
Peoria, IL 61603
(309) 677-0120