SPRINGFIELD – I applaud Governor Rauner for rising to the occasion and delivering a budget just one month after being sworn into office. Given his transition to the executive branch and the fiscal challenges that we face, his prompt delivery of a budget is commendable. However, the content of his plan raises significant questions about its viability in the legislative process.

The Governor deserves credit for keeping his promise to increase education funding for Illinois students. However, I’m disappointed that Governor Rauner’s budget will disproportionately impact the working families of those same students. Governor Rauner’s plan includes proposals that will undermine access to health services, child care, affordable college and retirement security for working- and middle-class families. These programs provide many of the work supports and opportunities that families need to succeed and respond to the economy.

For all the pain that Governor Rauner’s budget plan would extract from the most vulnerable people with human service needs, the basic math still doesn’t work in his proposal. Governor Rauner leaves a $2.2 billion hole in the budget by relying on unrealistic revenues from a questionable pension proposal. Even as the courts review a significant test case, the governor’s plan banks phantom savings for a pension plan that may fail key legislative and judicial tests. When we passed pension reform last year, we took care to exclude possible savings from budget plans pending a legal resolution. The governor’s plan rejects that wisdom.

This is an important day for the Governor, but it is just the beginning of the legislative process. There will be no easy solutions. With that truth in mind, I intend to work with the Governor to produce a final budget that responds to our fiscal realities in a way that makes Illinois just as compassionate as it is competitive.