Kasiar: Phelps unwilling to pass a balanced budget
Jason Kasiar, Republican candidate for House District 118, has continued to push for State Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-118) to support a long-term balanced budget despite the passage of a stopgap budget passed in Springfield in the special session this summer.
“This plan is not perfect, but it’s paid for and ensures our schools open on time and vital government operations continue,” Kasiar said in an interview with the Harrisburg Daily Register.
Kasiar said he wants to see the state's schools funded even if other state representatives are “unwilling to pass a balanced budget that would fund essential services.”
Kasiar and Phelps had spent months disagreeing about the state budget in Illinois until the state’s lawmakers passed a stopgap budget in July.
Kasiar had pushed for Phelps to go back to Springfield to pass the proposal, "so we can avoid this crisis that has been years in the making by career politicians like him (Phelps) and Mike Madigan.”
Phelps talked about the budget at a press conference back in June, and Kasiar made it clear that a temporary stopgap budget needed to be made for the greater good of the public.
Kasiar pushed for the budget to be passed quickly because stalling meant that school funding would be stopped and that other social service agencies would not receive proper funding and care.
State Rep. John Bradley (D-117) and Phelps disagreed with Kasiar and other lawmakers, saying that they would rather see another budget. Both previously voted for a budget pushed by House Speaker Mike Madigan that was unbalanced by $7 billion.
Kasiar has called for a balanced budget and said he wanted to respect “our overburdened taxpayers” when passing a comprehensive budget.
Legislators took into consideration that there was a possibility of schools not being opened in September if they had taken more time to debate the budget.
With the new plan, K-12 schools are set to receive the same amount of funds they had during the previous school year. In some cases, a few schools can receive even more funding. Early childhood education is on track to receive an additional $80 million in funding because of the stopgap budget.
Low-income family neighborhoods are able to receive a portion of a $250 million poverty grant. School districts serving those families are eligible for the grant while $131 million in state funding would be set aside for Child Protective Services.
In addition to school funding, the new budget granted $670 million that is supposed to go toward immigration services. Other services that will share the $670 million grant include autism services and youth programs.
There is also $720 million set aside for state facilities to help with covering utilities, food, medical care and repairs.
In total there was about $1 billion given to higher education including universities and community colleges.