Veto Session Ends With no Budget Agreement

Last Thursday was the General Assembly’s final scheduled day of our fall veto session, and I’m deeply disappointed that Speaker Madigan adjourned the House on Thursday with no agreement on a new budget.  As you know, our temporary budget expires at the end of the year, and as I write this the Speaker has not scheduled any additional session days before December 31st. That’s completely unacceptable.

Families, businesses and vendors in our area are counting on us to get a balanced budget in place so that they can begin to get paid on time for services they provide to the state and our residents. The good news is that the leaders have agreed to continue meeting every day this week to arrive at common ground on ways to make our State’s finances sustainable.  In the coming weeks, we  must keep the pressure up on the leaders and the Governor to ensure the final, difficult decisions are made.  Our time is running short to get this done.

Illinois House Approves Lame Duck Tax Increase Constitutional Amendment

Speaker Madigan has scheduled two “lame duck” session days in January for the 99th General Assembly before the new 100th General Assembly is sworn in on the 11th. To help prevent outgoing legislators from voting for a “lame duck” tax increase on their way out the door, the House last week approved a constitutional amendment that would increase the voting margin required to  increase an income tax rate or a sales tax rate during the so-called ‘lame duck” session.

The General Assembly, under current law, can enact “lame duck” tax hikes by simple majority in both houses.  If HJRCA 62 were to become law, the margin would increase to three-fifths – the same “supermajority” as is currently required to increase State general-obligation debt, approve amendments to the Constitution of Illinois, and approve amendments to the federal Constitution of the United States.   The House approved the recommended change on a bi-partisan vote of 84-18-2.  The Senate has not yet taken action. families can read more about the state’s stopgap budget, state funding increases for local school districts and other important issues from this year’s legislative session here on State Representative Dan Brady’s website. Rep. Brady has posted his Session Review online to keep local residents up to date without the costs associated with a mailed newsletter.

“Throughout the summer I have attended events across the district giving updates on our budget situation, school funding, funding for our colleges and universities and other major challenges we have worked on this year. Posting the Session Review on my website will make updated information even more accessible to local families.” Rep. Brady said.

Representative Brady said the Session Review is readily accessible here on his website by clicking the Session Review 2016 icon in this story, or in the top right hand margin of the homepage. The Review is also printable.

“Anyone with computer access can read and print the Session Review. I do understand that there are some without computer access who may be interested in the information and they are welcome to contact my district office at 309-662-1100 or stop by at 104 W. North Street in Normal for a copy,” Rep. Brady said.
State Representative Dan Brady is teaming up with Congressmen Rodney Davis and Darin LaHood to host a Senior Resources Fair to help connect seniors with local, state and federal services that can assist them.

“I am excited to join with Congressmen LaHood and Davis for this senior fair. It’s a  great opportunity for senior citizens to take advantage of ‘one stop shopping’ to learn about services offered at both the state and federal level that can help with a variety of issues from reducing medical costs to preventing scams and identity theft,” Representative Brady said.
The Senior Resources Fair, "Connecting Seniors to Services" will be held August 11, from 9:30am to 11:30am at ARC, located at 600 East Willow Street in Normal. 

From 9:30am to 10:30am there will be presentations by the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, Social Security Administration, and Medicare. 

From 10:30am to 11:30am seniors will enjoy a resource fair with local, state and federal agencies and organizations providing information on services and programs of interest. Local participants include state and federal agencies, townships, police and fire departments, libraries, and many more.
“In addition to all of the important information that will be available, this is also a great opportunity for seniors to let me and the Congressmen know what’s on your mind and what we can do to help. I hope to see you all at ARC on August 11th,” Representative Brady said.
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, along with State Representatives Bill Mitchell and Dan Brady, were in Clinton Friday to discuss efforts to save the Clinton Power Station. They were joined by more than 100 Exelon employees in support of keeping the plant open.

Last month, Exelon announced its decision to close the Clinton Power Station, which provides 700 good-paying jobs and another 1,200 indirect jobs, and more than $13 million in local tax revenue to area schools and local governments. Meanwhile, negotiations continue on legislation that would place Illinois nuclear plants on a level playing field with renewables such as wind and solar, which are heavily subsidized by Illinois ratepayers.

“The Clinton Power Station is critically important to the region’s economy and generating capacity for our state,” said House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs). I am here today to say I stand with Central Illinois families who depend on the plant for good-paying jobs and for reliable, cost-efficient power. I will continue to work with my House colleagues and the Governor to push for a solution to keep Clinton open.”

State Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth), who represents Clinton and DeWitt County, thanked Leader Durkin for coming to Clinton to show his support for the community.

“For the people of Central Illinois, there is no more important issue than the lack of good-paying jobs,” said Rep. Mitchell. “If Chicago were to suddenly lose 125,000 jobs, which is the equivalent of the potential job loss for Central Illinois from the Clinton closure, there would be an outcry from Chicago politicians demanding that we take immediate action. There is still time for the General Assembly to address this crisis and we will keep fighting to make that happen.”

“The Clinton facility is important to our local communities and to our families. We’re here today to show our solidarity with Exelon employees, and to let them know that we will be doing all we can to get this legislation called for a vote in the House,” said State Rep. Dan Brady (R-Normal).

“It was encouraging to hear Governor Rauner say last week in Champaign that talks are ongoing with Exelon,” added Rep. Mitchell. “Just this week, Exelon announced plans to buy a nuclear plant in New York, which has a Zero Emissions Standard that was supported by Governor Cuomo. We need new energy policy in Illinois to preserve our nuclear plants and protect jobs for working families.”
A new state law guided through the House by State Representative Dan Brady requires Health Organizations operating in Illinois to meet the same high standard of financial reporting as other insurers. Rep. Brady says the new guidelines provided in Public Act 99-0542 help ensure HMOs and other Health Organizations remain financially able to meet members’ needs.

“In a nutshell, this new law provides the Department of Insurance another tool to help ensure HMOs and other Health Organizations have the financial resources on hand to meet their obligations to families that depend upon their coverage,” Rep. Brady said.

During the House floor debate on Friday, State Representative Dan Brady stood up to join House Republicans in calling for a commitment toward a budget solution and compromise. Brady stood in support of remaining in Springfield through the weekend to continue working toward a bipartisan solution to our State’s budget impasse. 

Rank and file members, including Rep. Brady,  have been participating in working groups aimed at bridging the gap and coming up with both reforms and budgetary compromises, but Speaker Madigan continues to dismiss these efforts saying they haven’t made progress. He's wrong.

Representative Brady is committed to reaching a responsible, bipartisan budget compromise.
Despite action by Speaker Madigan to derail bi-partisan budget negotiations, State Representative Dan Brady on Wednesday stressed the need for rank and file legislators to continue to work together to reach a responsible budget compromise.
New Higher Education stop-gap funding proposal signed into law

I’m pleased to report that finally emergency funding is on its way to universities, community colleges, and students waiting for their MAP grants.

The new plan passed last week and signed into law Monday is a bi-partisan effort on which I worked diligently. It will provide $600 million from the Educational Assistance Fund to fund a four- month emergency appropriation to universities and one semester of MAP grants.  The money is available, and Comptroller Munger said she will begin processing payments immediately.

After ten months without funding, our universities were drowning, but last week we worked together to throw them a $600 million lifeline. It’s not a permanent solution, but it is a solid emergency funding plan to get needed dollars to universities and ensure students get their MAP grants while we continue to negotiate a full budget.  I sincerely hope this spirit of bi-partisan cooperation will carry over to those negotiations.

Comptroller Munger issues order delaying lawmakers’ pay 

Based on the continued lack of a balanced budget for FY16, Comptroller Munger has directed her staff to move the issuance of paychecks for elected State officials from a group of bills that are paid immediately and on schedule, to a separate group of bills that are paid after a delay.  The move affects pay for all constitutional officers in statewide elective positions, including herself, and affects pay for the 177 members of the Illinois General Assembly – 118 House members and 59 senators.
Statement of State Representative Dan Brady on Passage of Senate Bill 2059 as amended:

“Despite a shaky start I’m very glad that a bi-partisan emergency funding agreement for universities, community colleges and students’ MAP grants has finally passed the General Assembly and Comptroller Munger has announced that she is standing ready to begin processing payments. After ten months without funding, our universities were drowning. Today we worked together to throw them a $600 million lifeline. I truly hope that we can build on this cooperative success at the budget negotiating table,” said State Representative Dan Brady (R-Normal) who serves as Minority Spokesman on the House Higher Education-Appropriations Committee.

 Representative Dan  Brady visited with WJBC's Scott Laughlin Thursday morning about several budget and session related issues. Listen-in here.
“I’m very pleased that we are discussing a new proposal  in the General Assembly to provide needed stop-gap funding for Universities. The new plan, authored by my colleague Rep. Mike Fortner, would provide $558 million from the Educational Assistance Fund to fund a four- month appropriation to universities and one semester of MAP grants while we continue to negotiate a full budget. Let’s get this done.” Rep. Dan Brady
Local Lawmakers Renew Call for Compromise on Higher Ed, Immediate Return to Springfield

Normal, IL – At a press conference in Normal today, area Republican lawmakers emphatically reinforced their willingness to compromise on the issue of Higher Education funding.  Local Representatives and Senators stressed that there are numerous viable proposals still on the table that Democrats have so far refused to consider. 

“Our higher education funding crisis has reached critical mass. Students, universities, and community colleges need emergency funding now to get through the rest of this fiscal year, but the vetoed MAP bill and the new, largely unfunded appropriations bill pushed by Democrats are shams, not solutions,” said State Representative Dan Brady (R-Normal), who serves as Minority Spokesman on the House Higher Education-Appropriations Committee. “There are real, viable alternatives on the table, including House Bill 4539 that I am sponsoring, which the Speaker has so far denied due process in the House.”

House Bill 4539 would reasonably fund MAP grants, community colleges and four-year universities.  However, unlike the Democrat proposal on MAP funding (SB2043) or the newly proposed $3.7 billion spending plan (HB648) Republicans are calling for a funding stream tied to any proposal that advances.   

“There are a multitude of reasonable proposals on the table to fund higher education and offer our universities hundreds of millions in savings,” said State Senator Jason Barickman (RBloomington). “Speaker Madigan and his lawmakers have not only rejected these plans out of hand, they’ve now shut down their chamber for the rest of the month.”

Senate Democrats have refused to allow Republican higher education funding proposals from even being heard in committee. Senator Barickman, Senator Bill Brady and their colleagues have offered legislation to both fund MAP grants, community colleges and four-year universities, as well as provide $500 million per year through much-needed procurement reforms.

“Illinois students and universities are at a breaking point.” said Senator Bill Brady (RBloomington). “Last week I introduced SB 3380, which is one of the many viable, responsible higher education funding proposals put forward by Republican lawmakers in the General Assembly. I urge Democratic legislators to work with us on one of these real, reasonable proposals instead of pushing forward with false promises.”

In the House, Democrats refused to debate any workable higher education funding alternatives prior to breaking for the entire month of March.  At the conclusion of House session last Thursday, Republicans made a motion to bring the legislature back the following day.  The motion, despite being completely in line with the rules, was ruled out of order with Democrat leadership.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, who determines the session schedule, put in place a four-week gap in the month of March. The House is not scheduled to be back in session until April 4th.

“We’re in the middle of a very real crisis and Speaker Madigan broke his own House rules to avoid considering our motion to stay in Springfield and work. Democrats then hastily voted to adjourn and skipped town for an entire month,” said State Representative Tom Bennett (RGibson City).  “We want to work together on funding for higher education, for service providers, and for the new budget as a whole, but we can’t do that with the entire House Democrat Caucus on a four-week vacation.”

On the heels of the Senate’s override of the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 2043, House Republicans from across Illinois joined together to reiterate their willingness to compromise and arrive at a responsible solution to fund Illinois’ higher educational community. 

“Today’s veto override in the Senate is unfortunate given we’re all here today to reiterate our willingness to compromise on this issue to bring about a reasonable solution,” said State Representative Dan Brady (R-Normal), who serves as the Minority Spokesman on the House Higher Education-Appropriations Committee.  “We can’t continue down the road of calling adversarial votes that don’t benefit students or universities.  It will only further the divide in Springfield.”

The group of legislators cited several bills that have been presented including Rep. Brady’s House Bill 4539 which sought to reasonably fund not only MAP grants and community colleges, but also the operational budgets of our State’s four-year universities excluded from the Democrat proposal. 

“Repeatedly, we have heard from our four-year State Universities that their priority is receiving Operating Funds in order to continue their services without major interruption. SB 2043 did not include any Operating Funds for State Universities,” said Norine Hammond (R, Macomb) who represents Western Illinois University.  “We must have a comprehensive solution that funds higher education. There are multiple bills with funding sources attached.  These bills combined are the start of a solution. We are here to strongly advocate for compromise in order to resolve this urgent issue.”

During the original debate on Senate Bill 2043, House Republicans noted the oversimplification of the Democrat sponsor Kelly Burke’s explanation of how exactly the State of Illinois would pay for the MAP grants and community college payments.   They took specific exception with the implication that the Illinois Comptroller could simply prioritize the spending. 

“With $32 billion in revenue already spoken for through court orders, consent decrees and continuing appropriations, simply passing an appropriations bill without funding solutions is completely disingenuous,” said Representative Tim Butler (R, Springfield).  The math is pretty simple; troubling, but simple.”
Governor delivers budget options to General Assembly

 Governor Bruce Rauner addressed a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly last week, laying out his budget priorities and options to achieve a balanced spending plan that meets our families’ and communities’ needs.  The Governor stressed that education is and will remain his top priority, proposing record state support for our children’s schools and also for early childhood education. I was glad to hear the Governor confirm that he will continue to keep our children above the budget fray.

For the rest of state spending, he offered two plans to finally balance our budget; one that includes spending reforms and one that relies more heavily on spending cuts. He stressed that his preferred budget is one that is “responsible and compassionate,” but also stressed that we cannot continue to spend more than we bring in in revenues.

I believe the Governor is committed to reaching a reasonable solution to the devastating 8-month long budget stalemate. He has offered real options for putting together a balanced budget, and again urged our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to work with us to get it done.

I would like to know what you think about the governor’s budget proposals.  Please  answer my “weigh in” question in the right hand column of the main page of this website.

Real higher education funding option still on the table

On Friday, the Governor vetoed a bill supporters claimed would allocate needed state funding for community colleges and student MAP grants. Senate Bill 2043 was vetoed because it was a funding bill with no actual funding attached. In other words, it was an empty promise.  Our community college, university and student budgets are stretched beyond their breaking point, and more empty promises won’t help. 

The good news is that there is still a real, workable proposal on the table to fund higher education for the remainder of the fiscal year. I am the chief House sponsor of House Bill 4539 which would provide approximately $1.68 billion to provide adequate funding for universities and community colleges, and would fully fund students’ MAP grants at last year’s level.  And, unlike the proposal that was just vetoed, House Bill 4539 specifies an actual path to deliver the funding utilizing existing revenues. It would work in tandem with legislation that would afford the Governor the ability to manage monies in existing funds to adequately fund programs including higher education.

So far, Speaker Madigan has denied House Bill 4539 due process in the House. In the coming weeks I look forward to working with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to change his mind.

In addition to providing proper funding, I’m also sponsoring procurement reforms that will help save universities money by freeing them up from costly regulation. House Bill 4644 will give flexibility to higher education institutions when purchasing goods and services, saving an estimated at $159 million per year.

House passes controversial arbitration bill, but measure does not attain veto-proof majority

The House last week again took up legislation that would make complicated changes to public-sector labor law; the changes are aimed at giving a strategic advantage to certain labor unions, especially AFSCME, that represent workers in state government.  I strongly support all of our state workers, and so I have serious concerns with legislation that would drastically change the rules for both sides in the middle of contract negotiations.

While I continue to have strong misgivings, House Bill 580 was sent to the Illinois Senate for further debate. The measure received 67 Democrat votes in the House, but 71 votes will be necessary to override the Governor’s expected veto.

New survey puts Illinois next to last for middle-class taxpayers

A recent survey places Illinois at the bottom of states that are tax-friendly to the middle class.
According to personal-finance website WalletHub, the Illinois tax burden as a percentage of middle-class income is 11.30%, with more than one dime from every dollar of nominal income going to pay income, sales, property, and other levies.  For a middle-class family with household income of $70,000, the annual burden of taxes calculated by WalletHub is greater than $7,900.  That’s more than $31 in taxes levied upon a typical Illinois middle-class household in every work day!  

The Illinois tax burden upon the middle class, according to WalletHub, is the 50th worst among U.S. states and the District of Columbia.  The ranking of 50th out of 51 renders Illinois next to worst for taxation quality of life as a member of the middle class.  New York scored 51st.  All of Illinois’ neighboring states, including Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, and Wisconsin, outscored the Prairie State. Missouri was especially dramatic in its superiority over Illinois in the table, with the 22nd highest tax burden within the 50 states on its middle-class residents.   

This is yet more proof that struggling families here in Illinois can’t take another tax hike.

Pro-jobs votes highlighted

I am proud to say that I recently received a 100% rating from the Illinois Manufacturers for my House votes in support of growing and maintaining good jobs in Illinois. My thanks to the IMA for continuing to highlight the importance of improving our jobs climate for our families and communities!

As always, you can contact me via webform here on my website.
"On Friday, Governor Rauner rejected the so-called ‘funding’ bill for Map grants sent to him by the Democrat majority in the General Assembly. He vetoed it because it was a sham. It was a “funding bill” that contained no actual funding, and so the Governor rejected it as he said he would. It’s maddening that with students’ and universities’ budgets stretched beyond crisis point, the majority party in the General Assembly chose to send the Governor a false promise instead of a real funding option that was on the table.

I am the chief House sponsor of a proposal which will adequately fund higher education for the remainder of this fiscal year and fully-fund MAP grants for students at the FY 2015 level utilizing existing revenues. Specifically, House Bill 4539 would provide: approximately $1.68 billion that would come from general revenue to fund community colleges and universities, and students’ MAP grants. This bill would work in tandem with legislation affording the Governor the ability to manage monies in existing state funds to adequately fund programs including higher education.

Rep. Brady recently visited George L. Evans Jr. High School in Bloomington, serving as  “Principal for a Day” along side EJHS Principal Trevor Chapman. 
Rep. Brady spent time in  two different 7th grade social studies classrooms and had a wonderful time discussing the process behind passing laws and various other topics related to state level government. He also toured the building and visited several other classrooms talking with students and staff about many of the various educational activities happening in the building.  This included time in the school cafeteria mingling with students during lunch time. 

Sen. Althoff and Rep. Brady bring highly anticipated procurement reform measures to ILGA

After a year of working through and carefully evaluating Illinois’ onerous procurement process, a comprehensive reform package developed collaboratively by the Rauner administration, agency heads, legislative leaders and major stakeholders has emerged that has the potential to realize significant savings for Illinois taxpayers.   The legislative package, which will be filed concurrently in both the House and Senate by Rep. Dan Brady (R, Normal) and Sen. Pamela Althoff (R, McHenry) respectively, was unveiled during a press conference at the Illinois State Fairgrounds 4H building.
With college and university budgets stressed beyond their breaking point, State Representative Dan Brady (R-Bloomington) is filing legislation to deliver emergency relief. Brady will be Chief House sponsor of the proposal which will fund higher education, albeit with modest cuts, for the remainder of this fiscal year and fully-fund MAP grants for students at the FY 2015 level utilizing existing revenues.

“Our universities and community colleges are facing unprecedented financial pressure due to the delay in state funding, and the willingness by many to front costs for students’ MAP grants. They’re not approaching crisis level, they’ve passed it,” Representative Brady said. “This week we are proposing a plan that would give the governor the tools and the funding to provide help.”

Representative Brady talks about the ongoing state budget stalemate, cuts, taxes, and the way forward with WGLT's Charlie Schlenker. Click here to listen-in.