ALTON — Local lawmakers are praising the General Assembly’s passage of a stopgap budget measure Thursday while cautioning that more work needs to be done.
State Rep. Dan Beiser (D-Alton) issued the following statement:
“The spending bills passed today will ensure our schools open on time, provide much needed funding for social service organizations, and allow construction projects to continue on schedule. The budget provides a six-month spending plan for all of these programs, except elementary and secondary education, which is fully funded for the next fiscal year.
“This budget removes the anxiety school administrators, teachers and parents have had during the past months about whether or not schools will open in the fall. With other legislators, I fought attempts by the governor to decrease funding for our local schools. Instead, teachers and students in our region will have additional resources to use in the classroom.
“The spending bill also provides funding for human services for the next six months. This includes funding for in-home care for seniors, domestic and sexual abuse programs, services for children with disabilities and breast cancer screenings. Our seniors, children and most vulnerable citizens will be able to continue receiving the services they need and a little bit of pressure will be taken off providers.
“Even though these spending bills were passed, it is not enough. I am calling on the governor and legislative leaders to continue to negotiate a full budget. If this spending plan expires in six months, our colleges and universities, human service providers, students, seniors and disabled residents will be in the same position they were yesterday. We must focus on long-term solutions that provide stability for our economy and promote the health and safety of our communities.”
State Sen. Bill Haine (D-Alton) also supported the measure and said he is happy to find compromise in this legislation.
“What we passed today (Thursday) will help keep jobs in the Metro East by ensuring IDOT has the resources to keep its road construction projects going,” Haine said. “But that’s not the only win we had today. Human services agencies like Senior Service Plus, Impact CIL and St. John’s Community Care will finally receive some of the relief they need to keep their doors open and serve seniors and those with disabilities.”
The measure also contains Capital Development Board projects, including renovations for the old science building at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and improvements to residential buildings at the Alton Mental Health center.
“This is great. I have been a longtime supporter of SIUE and the Alton Mental Health Center, and I will continue to help bring similar projects to my district,” Haine said.