|General Assembly Sends Balanced Budget to Governor
On Thursday, May 31, an overwhelming bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives voted to send Governor Bruce Rauner a full-year, balanced budget that cuts spending by $1.2 billion and includes no new taxes. Governor Rauner signed the budget into law this morning.
Budgeteers from all four legislative caucuses met for several weeks to create the spending plan, which set spending for Fiscal Year 2019 at $38.50 billion with projected revenue of $38.52 billion. Make no mistake, this budget is not perfect. It does not include significant funding to address the state’s $6.6 billion backlog of bills and offers few reforms to reduce the tax burden or improve Illinois’ business climate. The process also did not begin with an official revenue estimate approved by both chambers of the General Assembly. But as is the case with any negotiation, both sides got some, but not all, of what they wanted. I am particularly pleased that Republicans were able to negotiate to remove $500 million in new Democrat-proposed spending that would have thrown the new plan out of balance.
The budget that Governor Rauner signed today fully funds K-12 education through the state’s new school funding formula. It also reinvests in our institutions of higher education by offering a new merit-based scholarship program to incentivize our best and brightest high school graduates to stay in Illinois for college. The budget also includes a modest increase in funds sent to municipalities, and a new tax credit for families that adopt a child. I am very excited about modest pension reform measures, like voluntary pension benefit buyouts and caps on end-of-career salary bumps that lead to pension spiking. The new plan also provides much-needed stability for residents, businesses, and not-for-profits in our State.
While I would have preferred more input from rank and file members during the process, the budgeteers who crafted this budget are to be commended for engaging in a process based upon cooperation and respectful compromise. This balanced budget, while not perfect, is an example of the positive results that can be achieved when politics and partisanship are set aside, and I was proud to support it on Thursday. Much hard work remains, and I hope the good will we saw with regard to the budget process can serve as a starting point for future collaborative efforts to improve Illinois’ economy, grow jobs, and ultimately place our state on solid financial footing.
Rep. Olsen Receives Unanimous Support of School Administrative Cost Transparency Bill
During session’s final week I was successful in passing two more bills, bringing the total number of bills I sent to the Governor in 2018 to 11. One bill I passed last week is a measure that seeks to add a new layer of transparency to administrative costs for public school districts. School district taxes are the largest portion of every Illinoisan’s property tax bill, and taxpayers deserve access to the most accurate information possible on how their money is being spent. SB 3236 requires ‘school report cards’ to contain the most current data collected relative to a school district’s administrative costs. Current law requires the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to prepare by October 31 of each year a school district report card for each of the state’s public school districts. Current data must include student and workforce demographics, financial and curriculum information and other data such as average class size, a breakdown of students’ racial and ethnic backgrounds, percentage of low-income, special education and limited English proficiency students, operating expenditures, per-pupil state pension contributions and various other data.
Rep. Olsen Stands with Middle Class Taxpayers and Opposes Progressive Tax Resolution
On May 29, I stood with Illinois’ middle class taxpayers and opposed HR 1025, which expresses support for the implementation of a progressive or graduated income tax system in Illinois. The middle class simply cannot afford another massive tax increase. HR 1025 did not include proposed tax rates; instead, the Democratic sponsor suggested that the General Assembly should be trusted to set necessary rates. This equates to the taxpayers of Illinois giving their state government a blank check to drive up taxes on the middle class. I have seen nothing in recent years that has shown that government could be trusted to make good decisions with a blank check. Despite the “no” vote of every House Republican and some Democrats, the measure passed by a 61-52 vote.
New Laws Took Effect on June 1
On the 1st of June, 34 new laws took effect in Illinois. Some of these measures were minor technical changes to current laws, while others address new issues entirely. The effective date of legislation is determined through the language included in every piece of legislation. Bill sponsors can ask for an immediate effective date or they can list a prescribed date for when the provisions of their bill will take effect. For legislation that does not include a specific effective date, the provisions take hold either on January 1 or June 1. Click here to read about the 34 new laws that just took effect in Illinois.
Hundreds Come Out for Annual Children’s Health & Safety Fair
Thank you to the many families that came to Lakeview Junior High School in Downers Grove on Saturday morning for my annual Children’s Health & Safety Fair. Families were able to gather helpful information from dozens of vendors while enjoying the “Traveling World of Reptiles” show, a 40-vehicle interactive “touch-a-truck” display and watch community group demonstrations.
My staff and I have organized a comprehensive list of free community outreach events for the summer and fall months. Mark your calendars for these upcoming events:
- June 16: Understanding your Property Tax Bill: 10:00 AM until 11:30 AM, Woodridge Public Library, 3 Plaza Drive, Woodridge (RSVPs recommended)
- July 25: Jobs Fair: 9:00 AM until 12:00 Noon, CORE Fitness Center, 16028 127th Street, Lemont
- September 22: Joint Senior Fair with Downers Grove Park District: 10:00 AM until 1:00 PM Lincoln Center Gymnasium, 935 Maple Ave, Downers Grove
- November (Date TBA): Veterans Resource Fair: Details coming soon
Please visit my website at www.repolsen.com often for additional information about these and other upcoming events.
Olsen Office Welcomes Summer Intern
Last week my office welcomed Vince Vena of Downers Grove as our summer intern for 2018. Vince, who recently graduated from Downers Grove South High School, joined my staff and me for my Children’s Health & Safety Fair on Saturday. He will be visible in the community throughout the summer as a representative of my office. For the next few months, Vince will learn about the inner workings of a state legislative office while assisting my staff and me with important projects. He will accompany me to community events and gain a solid understanding of how legislators reach out to their constituents and gain their input on matters. I had a very talented pool of applicants this year, and the decision-making process was difficult. Congratulations to Vince!
Olsen Participates in Reclaim13 Annual 5K
On Saturday, I joined friends and neighbors for Reclaim 13’s annual 5K run through Downers Grove. Reclaim13 is a 501c3 organization dedicated to freeing children from sexual exploitation and helping them reclaim a life of freedom, healing and hope. Click here to learn more about this wonderful community organization.