SPRINGFIELD — In a senate hearing with Acting Director Anna Hui of the Illinois Department of Labor, State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, asked what cuts could be made in the Department of Labor to balance the $4.6 billion out of balance budget.

“Being that the governor’s proposed budget was $4.6 billion out of whack and we’re now finding that that number might be more optimistic than it’s going to be, I would appreciate hearing from the department itself where you would be most willing to make those cuts,” Holmes said. “Where would you like to see those cuts if we are in a position where they have to be made?”

“We are not in the position to speculate about where those cuts might come from,” Hui said, to which Holmes replied: “Okay. Let’s call that nonresponsive.”

This week, Sen. Holmes and her fellow Democrats in the Senate have asked more than ten heads of state agencies what they would do should they be asked to cut their agencies’ budgets. In this year’s budget proposal, Gov. Rauner put forward a plan that spends $4.6 billion more than it collects in revenue. Rauner’s FY 18 budget proposal relies on the General Assembly to close this $4.6 billion gap by proposing new revenues or making cuts to programs.

“Gov. Rauner has been asking the General Assembly to give him the authority to make budget cuts for months. I would expect the governor’s agency heads to have some cuts already in mind,” Holmes said. “Clearly that is not the case.”

Director Hui is one of at least sixteen other state agency directors who have appeared before the Illinois Senate this week. None have suggested cuts to their departments’ budgets.

 

Category: Latest

SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, announced today that a joint effort with Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs’ office is delivering $30,000 in unclaimed property to two Aurora charities, the Salvation Army and First Christian Church.  The two organizations are each claiming 20 percent of a $78,000 estate from an Aurora woman who passed away in 1991.  After the original owner passed away, her bank accounts were eventually turned over to the state. 

“The Illinois Treasurer’s I-Cash program is an important consumer protection that secures lost bank accounts and other unclaimed property for as long as it takes to return it to its rightful owners,” Holmes said. “I applaud Treasurer Frerichs for expanding efforts to locate rightful owners. It is an honor for us to help in the effort, and it is especially rewarding when the assets go toward a good cause.”

Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs is currently safeguarding $2.7 billion in recovered cash belonging to millions of Illinois residents.  Shortly after taking office in 2015, Frerichs launched an intensive effort to track down the owners of large properties that had languished for years, especially those belonging to nonprofit organizations, employers, and estates.  The Treasurer’s office is partnering with Holmes because residents of Aurora and Naperville have more than $18 million and $21 million in unclaimed property respectively, among the highest for any city in the state. 

“I applaud legislators like State Senator Holmes for working with my office to return to her constituents what is rightfully theirs,” said Frerichs. “We hope more legislators and constituents take advantage of this program. Our office is holding tens of millions from the municipalities in Sen. Holmes’ district. To find out if you have money or property that belongs to you, please visit the treasurer’s office website at www.illinoistreasurer.gov/ICASH.”

Through the I-Cash program, tens of thousands of Illinois residents discover and claim property each year, and the average claim paid is $2,900.  A number of much larger properties remain to be claimed in the area, including: $91,000 from a CD account in Aurora, $110,000 from a savings account in Naperville, $104,000 from an investment account in North Aurora, and $100,000 in life insurance benefits in Montgomery.

Discovering and claiming unclaimed property is fast, free and confidential at illinoistreasurer.gov/icash.  The Treasurer’s Office encourages individuals, businesses and nonprofits to check back every six months since hundreds of thousands of properties are added throughout the year.  Claimants with questions or concerns can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Category: News

SPRINGFIELD – To make local government more efficient and ease the property tax burden on her constituents, State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, voted in favor of SB3, a bill that grants counties the ability to cut or consolidate local units of government. Previously, only DuPage, Lake, and McHenry Counties were able to consolidate local government units in this way. This bill extends that ability to all counties in the state.

“The property owners in my district have suffered under an increasingly large property tax burden over the years,” Holmes said. “Property taxes rise for numerous reasons, but one common-sense way to control and lower them is to grant local governments the ability to consolidate and eliminate unnecessary and wasteful units.”

With over 7,000 units of local government, Illinois has more than any other state in the country. This legislation is a step toward lowering that number and streamlining government.

Having passed the Senate as part of the “grand bargain” agreement, SB3 awaits the approval of the rest of the bills in the package before moving on to the House of Representatives.

Category: New Releases

SPRINGFIELD – Responding to Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s announcement that she will seek to lift the court order that mandates payment of state employees, State Senator Linda Holmes (D- Aurora) expressed her own frustration at the state’s lack of a budget.

“It seems that Governor Rauner, who made $188 million last year, does not understand the devastating impact that his decisions have on the people of Illinois,” Holmes said. “Instead of governing, he has waged an endless campaign against unions and the middle class. The governor has neglected his constitutional duty to present the legislature with a budget and he has vetoed every budget that we have presented him with, creating the ongoing crisis.”

Holmes refers to Article VIII, Section 2(a) of the Constitution of the State of Illinois, which states: “The Governor shall prepare and submit to the General Assembly, at a time prescribed by law, a State budget for the ensuing fiscal year.”

“Governor Rauner has placed our state in this precarious situation by holding the budget hostage to further his partisan agenda,” Holmes said. “With Attorney General Madigan’s announcement, we find ourselves heading toward a government shutdown if there is not a budget by February 28. The governor should start governing and do what is asked of him in the Illinois Constitution.”

The lack of a state budget has already had serious consequences for Illinois’ social service providers. Smart Steps, a community-based early childhood education organization with over 20 years of experience serving families in Aurora, was almost forced to close because the state government could not provide them the funding that they needed to pay their bills without a budget.

“After over two years, I'm still upset that Springfield has no budget,” said George Jones, a Smart Steps board member. “I hope that a budget can be approved soon, because social service providers have little to no financial reserves to wait seven or more months to be paid for vital services."

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Category: News

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