Senator Steans

June 2, 2015

Dear Friends,


I'm sure you are disappointed, as I am, that Governor Rauner and the General Assembly were unable to come to agreement on a new state budget by the target date of May 31. Governor Rauner has promised a "long, hot summer," which many believe will be stoked by a TV and mail advertising campaign bankrolled by the Governor's $34 million in campaign funds.


I don't believe this is what the people of Illinois want or deserve from their elected leaders. And I believe there's a better path.


First, let me quickly review how we arrived at this point:


Democrats in the General Assembly passed a budget for next year that included moderate cuts in spending on top of the many cuts we have already made. We rejected the draconian cuts that Governor Rauner proposed, which would have cut the heart out of many programs geared to help the most vulnerable Illinoisans - from the physically and mentally challenged to seniors trying to live independently to single parents working to support their children through pre-school and childcare. You can click here to compare the Governor's proposed FY16 budget to the General Assembly's budget.


Steans Senate floorI believe that a fair and workable solution to the state's budget problems should involve a mix of moderate cuts in spending and a moderate increase in revenues - something that Governor Rauner himself has acknowledged. That revenue gap could be filled through a combination of steps that might include closing existing tax loopholes for corporations, adjusting the sales tax to better reflect our service-based economy, restoring some portion of the income tax increase that expired last year and taxing the retirement income of the state's wealthier residents.


Unfortunately, Governor Rauner has refused to consider these or other measures to resolve the budget crisis unless the General Assembly passes his so-called Turnaround Agenda. As a result, budget negotiations have broken down - although both the House and Senate will remain in session in hopes that an agreement can be reached.


I believe Governor Rauner's proposals deserve consideration. In fact, I have supported some of them in the past, such as redistricting reform. But his proposals to further restrict workers' compensation, put limits on damage awards in legal cases and freeze property taxes for municipalities and school districts across our state are complicated issues that would affect millions of working families. By insisting that the General Assembly accept this agenda as a precondition for negotiating a budget, Governor Rauner is demonstrating a "my way or the highway" approach to government that makes compromise difficult. And launching a summer ad campaign, funded by a handful of billionaires, to vilify his opponents will only make the situation worse.


I am eager to work with Governor Rauner and my Republican colleagues in Springfield to address our fiscal problems and put our budget in balance. That's been my record in office on things like Medicaid reform, and it's the only way to get things done.


I cannot, however, accept cuts to our budget that threaten basic healthcare and human services for the neediest among us or that severely underfund the public education our children need and deserve.


I hope that Governor Rauner will reconsider his approach to the budget and re-engage in negotiations to find a reasonable compromise that protects our most vulnerable residents. And I hope that he won't continue to hold those negotiations hostage to his insistence that we fully embrace his so-called turnaround agenda, which could have very serious consequences for millions of middle-class families across Illinois.


As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments. I will keep you updated on developments in this important debate. I will convene a town hall shortly to provide an opportunity to discuss the budget and the current impasse as well.


Heather Steans
Senator Heather Steans
7th District – Illinois



District Office

5533 N. Broadway • Chicago, IL 60640

773-769-1717 (Phone) • 773-769-6901 (Fax)


Springfield Office

122 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706

217-782-8492 (Phone)



legislative survey

eNewsletter Signup
  1. First Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  2. Last Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  3. Your Email(*)
    Please let us know your email address.

Find Your Legislator

Contact Us

District Office
5533 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640
Office: 773-769-1717
Fax: 773-769-6901

Springfield Office
627 Capitol Building
301 S. Second St.
Springfield, IL 62706
Office: 217-782-8492