According to State Senator Neil Anderson (Rock Island) legislation that makes $4 billion worth of empty promises passed the Illinois Senate on Thursday, March 17.
“There is no question that we need to fund priorities, like higher education. The problem is – this bill doesn’t do it,” said Anderson. “The math just doesn’t work, this legislation is yet another empty promise. It provides spending authority, without any actual money to spend.”
Senate Bill 2059 appropriates $4 billion to a number of agencies not currently being funded by court order, consent decrees, or continuing appropriations. The problem, according to Anderson, is that the legislation appropriates money the state simply does not have. Anderson pointed out that Illinois already has a current bill backlog of more than $3.5 billion dollars and that this bill would add an additional $4 billion dollars to that burden.
During debate on the legislation, the bill’s supporters were criticized for passing a piece of vanity legislation before returning to their districts for the Easter Holiday. Additionally, the measure must still be approved by the Illinois House which hasn’t been in session in more than two weeks, and won’t return until April 4.
“This kind of political gamesmanship doesn’t actually help anyone, and doesn’t get us any closer to ending this budget stalemate. We need a permanent solution that actually gets money to the people who need it,” said Anderson. “It’s time we worked together, in a bipartisan way, to ensure that we have dedicated streams of funding to priorities like higher education and public health.”