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The Chicago Urban League Commends the Senators and Representatives of the Illinois General Assembly for Ending Budget Impasse

July 7, 2017
Sabrina Greig, External Affairs Manager
(773) 451-3508

The Chicago Urban League Commends the Senators and Representatives of the Illinois General Assembly for Ending Budget Impasse

CHICAGO, IL. – July 7, 2017 – Chicago Urban League President and CEO Shari Runner issued the following statement in support of the ending of the budget impasse:

“The Chicago Urban League would like to commend the Senators and Representatives of the Illinois General Assembly for ending the 736 day budget impasse. For too long, this impasse placed politicking above the people, damaged the state’s finances, and harmed its residents and communities by creating an unsustainable situation for our government, agencies, and organizations relying on their support.

We watched the actions of the past week very closely and we listened intently to the discussions on the floor from elected officials on both sides of the aisle. We know that for some Senators and Representatives, this was a very difficult decision that ran counter to what they might traditionally vote for under standard governmental circumstances. However, they recognized that we were not operating within a conventional political and social climate. Our K-12 schools were at risk of not opening their doors to welcome students in the Fall. Our public colleges and universities risked the loss of their accreditation that would only increase the number of students, staff and faculty members that have been leaving these institutions for months. Our social service agencies, health care and mental health providers continued to provide services to all that needed them – particularly the most vulnerable in our state – knowing that payment was not guaranteed. Every CEO or Director or Superintendent in each of these situations was faced routinely with a hard decision, too: Can we forge ahead? And, if so, what do we have to do to make it happen?

This balanced budget, which was a bipartisan effort between the Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly, was a much needed resolution to the immediate problems at hand. It’s not a perfect solution, and we all recognize this, but the revenue gained under the plan will stabilize the State and begin to address the $15 billion bill backlog that has threatened, and continues to compromise, service providers. It will allow us to continue providing needed services and pay for our students’ education, though we strongly encourage Governor Rauner to sign SB1 into law to fully and equitably support school districts across the state.

We know that the budget impasse disrupted a lot of the good work that was taking place in the state for its residents. We know that it will take still more time to recover from the consequences of living the past three years without a budget. We know that too many peer organizations and institutions used up all of their resources during this fight. Many shuttered, never to return again. We know that changes and reforms will not be easy, or swift. We know that we will again have to work hard to place partisan politics aside to put the people of the State of Illinois first, because this basic civil liberty doesn’t always come easy for us. But we also know – just as these Senators and Representatives knew this week – that we must persevere through it and do what is needed to be done for the people of this state.”