Forby critical of Rauner budget while Fowler focuses on positives
Illinois state Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton) criticized Gov. Bruce Rauner after his budget address on Wednesday for not taking enough action to solve the state's current budget stalemate.
"This is getting out of hand," Forby said. "Today we heard a budget address when we still don’t have a budget for this year. How many places need to close, how many jobs need to be lost and how many people must lose vital services before this guy is willing to work with us to pass a budget?”
Forby went on to say the governor has shut down the Sparta shooting range, cut off funding to Southern Illinois University, and recently closed the Southern Illinois Art and Artisans Center at Rend Lake permanently, costing people jobs.
Rauner delivered his highly anticipated fiscal year 2017 budget address from the State Capitol on Wednesday. During his address, the governor encouraged lawmakers to work together to achieve “real reform,” create jobs and save taxpayers.
“This year cannot be a rerun of last year,” Rauner said.
Illinois has been operating without a budget since Rauner vetoed a spending plan sent to him by the Democrat-controlled legislature last July, resulting in deep cuts to many services across the state.
But Forby said he would like to see the governor do more to rescue Illinois from its current financial mess.
“This simple fact is, we passed a budget and he vetoed it," Forby said. "I am working hard to help keep southern Illinois afloat; I wish he would do the same."
On the other hand, Senate District 59 Republican candidate Dale Fowler said he was pleased to hear the governor talk about increased funding for education.
“I was excited to hear and understand that there’s going to be a proposal for increased funds for our kids (so they) can get access to great schools,” Fowler said. “I think the numbers were something like $4.8 billion for general state aid -- a $6.5 million increase. It’s our first time fully funding general state aid in several years, so I’m sure schools should be happy to hear that.”
Fowler believes the budget can be balanced without a tax hike, but reform and compromise are key.
“It will require deep cuts; it will require reform," Fowler said. "Without reform or compromise, the cuts will have to be severe.”