***Guest Column***


Last week was a busy one in Springfield. Things are moving again. Rank-and-file members of both parties negotiated a deal at the lunch table to send emergency funds to colleges, universities and students across Illinois. It was a temporary fix, but I’m optimistic that both sides are beginning to agree on things. The Governor signed the appropriation measure Senate Bill 2059 into law this week which released $600 million from the State’s Education Assistance Fund. The Comptroller has stated that although there is only $345 million in the Education Assistance Fund, it is enough to immediately pay student MAP grants and she will work closely with colleges and universities to avoid further cuts and closings. The Education Assistance Fund should have the $600 million on hand by June 30th.

***Guest Column***


Well, it was an interesting week in Springfield. We worked on several important issues. The Democrats pushed through a $3.9 Billion spending plan (Senate Bill 2046) which was essentially the same one they proposed before, except with a slightly larger price tag. Just like before, this one has no funding mechanism, no way to pay for it. What it amounts to is a false promise to Illinois families and only adds to the stack of unpaid bills on the Comptroller’s desk. I’ll tell you about our Comptroller, Leslie Munger.

Comptroller Munger, the state’s chief financial officer and the one responsible for cutting the checks to pay state bills, likens this situation to a family budget. According to Comptroller Munger, it’s like a family sitting down at the kitchen table with $100 and trying to pay down a $7,000 stack of bills. A family can’t afford to spend or budget this way. The State shouldn’t either. The Democrats $3.9 Billion spending bill that was passed this week just adds to the mountain of unpaid bills. It is an IOU with no way to ever pay it back; an empty promise to the people of Illinois.
***Guest Column***

I just arrived back in northwest Illinois after spending the past week in Springfield, though we should have been back to work the entire month of March it appears the next seven weeks will be very busy.  No budget resolutions were discussed yet, but many pieces of legislation were debated in committees and sometimes in a manner not conducive to good government but nonetheless argued on their merits.  There were 2,181 House Bills and 1,194 Senate Bills introduced this year and it never ceases to amaze me as to the content of some of these bills.  Here are a two of those bills.