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McGuire: Budget Cuts Could Put Local Facilities on Chopping Block

Local jobs could be lost if severe budget cuts are made, state senator says.

Sen. Pat McGuire. Credit: File photo
Sen. Pat McGuire. Credit: File photo
Submitted by State Sen. Pat McGuire, D-Joliet:

As a member of the Illinois Senate Appropriations II Committee, I literally have a front-row seat in the budget-making process. Over the last two months, scores of department heads, university presidents and agency directors presented their budget proposals. The General Assembly has until May 31 to consider these proposals and adopt a state budget for Fiscal Year 2015, which begins July 1. 

In recent weeks, my fellow committee members and I heard budget proposals from eight departments, commissions and agencies. I kept track of the services and facilities in our area that may be on the chopping block if severe budget cuts are made for FY 2015. 

  • The Illinois State Police forensic lab on Woodruff Road in Joliet could be closed. Local jobs would be lost, municipal police departments and the Will County Sheriff’s Department would have to pay for outsourced lab analysis of evidence, and criminal prosecutions could be delayed.
  • Nine as-yet-unidentified state parks might be closed. If Channahon State Park were to be closed, our area would lose an outstanding recreational area, and local communities would lose the business and tax revenue generated by visitors to the state park. 

  • MAP (Monetary Award Program), the state’s higher education financial aid program, currently helps almost 141,000 Illinois residents (40% of them adults) afford college by covering approximately 50% of the cost of attending a community college and 35% of the cost of attending a state university. Potential budget issues could require a dire choice, either to entirely eliminate MAP for over 18,000 students or to cut the average amount of financial aid by $350.
  • The Illinois Community College Board would be forced to reduce state aid to community colleges, causing students and local property taxpayers to carry the financial load. In addition, cuts could jeopardize career and technical education programs which prepare residents for jobs in the 21stcentury economy. Furthermore, economic development services helping businesses grow would be curtailed. 

The challenges we face are formidable. I welcome your suggestions as we lawmakers spend this month crafting a budget that is fair, free of waste, and rebuilds the middle class in Illinois.

Steven M. Rossetti May 07, 2014 at 08:44 AM
Why is it when government wants to raise taxes they always threaten to cut parks, recreation, Police, Fire etc. ? At some point Senator your committee approved on more than one occasion a budget that was not properly funded. For the sake of argument, can you tell us when was the last time the budget was balanced without cuts?
Jello May 07, 2014 at 10:48 AM
So. Sick. Of. Democrats. Sick of republicans too. Just sick of it all. You voted to INCREASE electricity rates (chicagobusinness dot com 20% ComEd rate increase in June) thanks to the stupid spy meters (aka-smart meters) you want to keep what was suppose to be a TEMPORARY tax hike and make it PERMANENT , these dang property TAXES are straight up punitive and now we have the IRS all up in our health insurance (which, btw, the Supreme Court ruled Obamacare is a TAX). You've all done NOTHING for the middle class except for KILL it, more people then ever want to get out of dodge ( lame state of IL that is) and now for the FIRST time in THIRTY YEARS more US small business are DYING than are being born!!! GOOD JOB! Let's vote them all in again and again and again. Oh, then there's that UNAFFORDABLE bribe from the Dept of Ed called COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS that border on child abuse. I'm sorry you screwed up the the state pensions, but you know what, I don't even have one and I can give a rats behind about your dang government pensions. I've had about all I can take with the lies. Once again, you seem to be siding with special interests instead of regular middle class sheeple. Bend over voters cuz there's more pain coming. Get your money out of your pensions your 401k your savings cuz they'll be coming after them too after they tax us out of oblivion. Then, get the heck of a Illinois. Have a nice day.

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