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From left to right, State Representative Reggie Phillips, Charleston Mayor Brandon Combs, and EIU President David Glassman.

State Representative Reggie Phillips (R-Charleston) congratulated the City of Charleston on obtaining the 2017 Governor’s Hometown Award at a ceremony held Wednesday, November 8th at the Old State Capitol in Springfield.

“I am very proud of the City of Charleston, the volunteer community and local businesses that make the community a special place to live,” said Rep. Phillips. “The 2017 Governor’s Hometown Award shows how much the residents care about Charleston and their commitment to volunteerism and community service.”

More than 2.4 million Illinoisans volunteered in 2015, and Illinois was ranked the No. 1 volunteering state amongst the five most populous states in the country, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service.
The issue of funding K-12 schools is heating up around the state given the fact the Democrat controlled legislature has yet to send Governor Rauner their education funding proposal (SB1) approved in late May. SB 1 is not good news for central and southern Illinois schools as they would lose out on millions to Chicago schools if the bill were signed into law. State Representative Reggie Phillips (R-Charleston) voted against SB 1, calling it a “bailout for Chicago public schools.”

“Taking nearly $2.5 million from schools I represent and sending our tax dollars to Chicago was easy enough for me to vote against SB 1,” said Rep. Phillips. “Making sure the schools I represent get their fair share of funding from the state is high priority. By saying no to bailing out Chicago schools, we can secure more money that our local classrooms so desperately need.”

SB 1 directs millions of dollars to Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and away from other deserving central and southern Illinois school districts. Under SB 1, the other 851 school districts in Illinois will receive less funding while CPS receives a $506 million historical pension payment.

According to the Governor’s office, when SB 1 reaches his desk, Governor Rauner plans to issue an amendatory veto that will result in higher state funding for almost every school district in Illinois. The bill includes a bailout of Chicago’s broken teacher pension system, so Governor Rauner plans to amend SB 1 to remove this from the bill.

Rep. Phillips added, “I support the Governor’s amendatory veto and plan to fix SB 1. Governor Rauner’s plan to fix SB 1 will provide nearly $2.5 million more for schools in Clark, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Lawrence, and Edgar counties.”

Enclosed is a chart illustrating how much local schools would lose under SB 1 and how much local schools would gain once Governor Rauner issues his amendatory veto to fix SB 1:

Fresh thinking will fix Illinois
A column by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno

For too long, Springfield politicians have been stuck in the past. They think the pressing issues of our day — large budget deficits, unfunded public pensions, and dangerously high out-migration — are similar to the ones Illinois has faced in eras past.

State Representative Reggie Phillips (R-Charleston) spoke Wednesday before the House Higher Education committee on Senate Bill 930, which extends until 2026 a tuition discount program at Eastern Illinois University. The bill passed committee and now goes to the House floor for consideration.

State Representative Reggie Phillips (R-Charleston) spoke during the debate on House Bill 2622 in the Illinois House on April 27.
Private foundation drive set to begin
The multiyear State Fair fundraising project will push to renew Illinois’ fairgrounds while minimizing taxpayer commitments.  The State owns fairgrounds in Springfield and in DuQuoin, in southern Illinois.  Taken together, both fairgrounds have compiled $185 million in unmet infrastructure needs at the two festival centers, including public safety, rebuilding, and building maintenance.  The main fairgrounds’ historic Coliseum, a 115-year-old structure used for arena events including horse shows, is no longer safe for public access and requires $3.7 million in urgent ceiling-beam and roof repairs.

Legislature reconvenes for final five weeks of scheduled session
The General Assembly reconvened last week for what will be a series of session days concluding at the end of May.  May 31 is the adjournment date mandated by the Constitution.  The Illinois House and Senate have not yet enacted a state budget for FY17, which ends June 30.  Also, no budget has been adopted for FY18, which begins July 1.  Discussions of the state’s revenue picture, spending needs, and budget responsibilities are expected to make up much of the remainder of the spring session.  The General Assembly website continues to provide real-time updates on schedules of the Illinois House and Senate, and the progress of bills and other actions being considered by the Illinois House and its committees.