Senator Dave Luechtefeld (R-Okawville) provided his views on the 2016 Illinois legislative session to an audience of 30 Illinois Public Affairs Network members on Friday, June 17th at the Doubletree Hotel in Collinsville.
Sen. Luechtefeld began the discussion by saying “Illinois has a debt that it cannot pay – it’s over the top - and that the State of Illinois is headed towards a disaster [that was] going to happen whether Bruce Rauner was governor or [not].” Citing the fact that a budget agreement tomorrow would still result in $7 billion in fiscal needs, the Senator emphasized his belief that the General Assembly must create a situation where people and businesses want to come to Illinois.
The Senator also discussed the Illinois education crisis that has evolved from the budget situation. While the Senate passed legislation that would have produced $900 million new dollars for K-12 education, the House voted the bill down. Despite this bill being defeated, the Senator stated that he believes the Governor wants to see schools open on time and that an education budget will pass the General Assembly by July 1st.
In closing, Sen. Luechtefeld detailed his belief that “Springfield is about power and how to keep it”. He went on to say that “Illinois now has a reputation that is hard to fix. We are past the point of solving the problem by cutting [spending] and passing a tax [increase].” The Illinois fiscal year begins July 1st, and the Senator stated that the legislative working groups will continue meeting to reach an agreement with the Senate due to convene the last week of June.