Round the clock discussions continue between representatives of Governor Bruce Rauner and the four legislative leaders on a Fiscal Year 2019 budget. Lawmakers are working in advance of the scheduled end of the legislative session on May 31. Senator Paul Schimpf is optimistic that, unlike last year, the General Assembly and Gov. Rauner will come to an agreement on a budget.
“Unlike last year, when both sides were holding irreconcilable positions, this year’s budget negotiations are attempting to resolve different opinions about funding priorities,” said Schimpf.
Whenever the proposed budget is finalized, Sen. Schimpf plans to assess whether it matches the priorities of the 58th Senate District. Additionally, Sen. Schimpf has also specified three requirements that any proposal must meet in order for him to even consider voting for it.
“I have three non-negotiable conditions when evaluating any budget proposal,” said Schimpf. “The budget must balance, comply with the Illinois Constitution, and not include any new or increased taxes.”
Higher Education Working Group
Throughout the past year, Sen. Schimpf has participated in the General Assembly’s Higher Education Working Group (HEWG). Sen. Schimpf asked to participate in this group because Southern Illinois University at Carbondale is the largest employer within the 58th Senate District.
Early this past week, the HEWG unveiled a set of legislative proposals that would assist public universities with the recruitment and retention of students. The bills cover degree attainment, financial assistance, and changes to procurement reform. The General Assembly will likely vote on the proposals prior to adjournment on May 31.
Legislation that would split the Southern Illinois University System into two completely separate components has not made it to the Illinois Senate yet. If it does, Sen. Schimpf says he will evaluate the legislation with skepticism.
“Our focus should be on how to maximize the potential of both SIU Carbondale and SIU Edwardsville,” Schimpf said. “Right now, I believe the two universities are in a stronger position when they remain part of the same system.”
Higher education in Illinois will face increasing challenges in the upcoming years as the number of Illinois high school graduates is forecast to decrease beginning in 2025.
The legislative proposals are in response to the rejection by the SIU Board of Trustees of a proposed reallocation of more than $5 million from the Carbondale to Edwardsville campus.
Memorial Day Wall
Sen. Paul Schimpf was invited to speak at the Fourth Annual Wall of Remembrance sponsored by the Illinois Senate Republican Caucus. The event took place on Thursday, May 24, in the Capitol Rotunda.
“It is up to us, the living, to validate the decision that these men and women made—that we, our communities, our state, and our country were worthy of their ultimate sacrifice,” said Schimpf. “So, in addition to remembering, Memorial Day is also the day to pause, look in the mirror, and think about whether we are holding up our end of the bargain—whether we are doing our part to ensure that we, as a people and a country, are worth fighting and dying for.
Visitors are encouraged to stop by the wall, reflect on those who have given their lives, and offer a remembrance by sharing a written message to their heroes in the armed services. The wall will be on display through Independence Day.
4-H Youth Leadership
Sen. Paul Schimpf recognized more than 50 4-H members on the Senate Floor on Tuesday, May 22. The Students represented more than 30 different 4-H programs from counties around Illinois. Their visit marked the annual University of Illinois 4-H Legislative Connection event at the Capitol.
About State Senator Paul Schimpf
Sen. Schimpf took the Oath of Office during the Inauguration of the 100th General Assembly on Jan. 11, 2017 at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. Senate District 58 includes all or parts of Jackson, Jefferson, Perry, Randolph, Monroe, St. Clair, Washington, and Union Counties and represents more than 220,000 Illinois citizens.