It may seem a bit odd, but there are good things happening in Springfield following last week’s passage of a state budget by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
State Rep. Tom Bennett of Gibson City acknowledges the budget is balanced but, like anything else, needs to be closely monitored moving forward.
“You look at the revenues coming in, you look at the expenses you have to deal with and you have to adjust as you go,” Bennett explained.
According to Bennett, there are no tax increases and this is the first bi-partisan effort he has observed while serving in Springfield. Of the $38.52 billion budget, around $19 million is sitting on the table for now. The budget includes $63 million for AFSCME back pay, which has been an issue for several years. Also, the Department of Corrections will see $405 million in general revenue funds and there is $350 million more for an evidence-based K-12 education formula.
“We extended the new disaster income tax credit to apply until the end of 2018. That’s going to help a number of flood victims in our district,” Bennett noted.
The budget still faces challenges, such as a reduction in local government and public transit sharing, however $2.5 billion was authorized for the IDOT road program.