Springfield….State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) joined a super majority of Illinois House lawmakers on Thursday in voting yes for a full-year, balanced State budget for the 2019 fiscal year. Bryant says she is proud of the hard work and cooperation that went into negotiating the balanced budget and urged her colleagues to continue working together on other major issues facing the State.
The on-time, in-balance, full-year budget cleared the House on the last day of regularly scheduled Session. With Governor Rauner’s signature, the bipartisan budget agreement will represent a departure from prior years when partisan gridlock kept the State from having a budget for more than two and a half years.
“Chaos is not normal,” Bryant said. “What we had in years past with not having a budget or a plan was simply chaos. During last July’s budget action, I think it is safe to say that a lot of members, including myself, put their political careers on the line and did what was necessary to end the budget stalemate and save the State from junk bond status and a host of other major complications. This FY 19 budget agreement is a step in the right financial direction and will add much-needed stability to the State’s economic outlook.”
Bryant says the involvement of House and Senate Republicans played a significant role in helping to craft next fiscal year’s spending plan. Bryant has argued publicly for months that Illinois must stick to a strict fiscal diet in the coming years if the State is to ever eliminate its outstanding debt obligations.
“HB 109 cuts more than $1 billion in spending,” Bryant said. “These cuts, and this fiscally sound, balanced budget could not have been achieved without the participation of Republicans.
In addition to the welcome, but somewhat surprising bipartisan agreement, Bryant says she believes the budget takes aim at the problem of dropping enrollment at Illinois’ public Universities by providing a 2% increase in funding for higher education and makes MAP grants available for four years at a time instead of just one.
“The budget impasse had a devastating and chilling effect on our State’s higher education institutions,” Bryant said. “Some stability has returned due to the fact that we have a budget now, but this year’s budget increase for higher education should signal to Illinois’ high school students that we are dedicated to improving our Universities and that we are going to continue to make investments in our future leaders and keep our kids going to schools closer to home.”