Hammond makes fiscally responsible choice for all Illinoisans

SPRINGFIELD, IL…Assistant Minority Leader Norine K. Hammond (R-Macomb) released the following statement explaining her YES vote to override the Governor’s veto on Senate Bill 9:

“Issues like taxes and spending – especially right now in Illinois – are of much concern and many people in the 93rd District are widely divided on the issues, which put me in a difficult position when I cast my vote.  Ultimately, I voted YES on overriding the veto because I believe it to be the most fiscally responsible path forward.

If we continue this course we have for the last two years – which we undoubtedly would if this budget package is not passed – Illinois’ bond rating would definitively become junk status. This means that if Illinois ever wanted to borrow money, the state would be paying so much in interest that it would take decades, if ever, to pay off without massive tax increases.

Today, the State is paying $20 million a day in interest and penalties on unpaid bills, which now total approximately $14 billion. If we do not pass the budget package, that backlog would total $24 billion and the tax increase included in the budget package would have to be even larger, depending on the timing from 5.5%-8%, if the State ever wanted to see a balanced budget or a day in which bills are paid on time.

If we expect to send our children to school in the fall, we have to pass a budget. If we value our universities and community colleges, we have to pass a budget. If we want to provide meals and services to seniors and the disabled, we have to pass a budget.

The budget package passed by the House and Senate represents a compromise of approximately $2.5 billion in cuts with additional revenue. Unequivocally, there was extensive input from Republicans on what should be included and excluded from this budget proposal. 

As to the much-needed reforms to change the long-term fiscal trajectory of our state, I am continuing to work with my colleagues on critical reforms to improve Illinois’ climate for job creators. I will be the first to advocate for lowering taxes and spending when we are able to improve the climate for jobs and grow our revenue base. For now, I stand firm knowing that I made the most fiscally responsible choice for all Illinoisans.”

“I was sent to Springfield to fix our problems, not to make them worse.”

SPRINGFIELD, IL…Assistant Minority Leader Norine K. Hammond (R-Macomb) released the following statement explaining her vote on Senate Bill 9:

“By voting today we’re protecting the disabled and senior citizens who are on Medicaid. We’re providing meals to senior citizens. We’re ensuring the public schools open on time. We’re ensuring necessary funds to improving infrastructure. We’re providing our local communities the money that they’re owed. We’re saving Western Illinois University and our local community colleges. We are ensuring the State of Illinois has a balanced budget.

Illinois is within days, if not hours, of earning junk bond status by New York bond houses that determine the rate of interest we pay on bonding. That rate affects all of us and inhibits our ability to refinance debt and dig ourselves out of this mess. We are currently paying $20 million in interest every day on $14 billion of unpaid bills. Those bills and the interest owed will grow to $24 billion in less than a year if we do nothing.

I was sent to Springfield to fix our problems, not to make them worse. My vote today was to keep the State of Illinois out of financial ruin. Nobody wants to take hard votes, but families in West-Central Illinois sent me here to get our State back on track.

This is a balanced budget that spends $2.5 billion less than what we’re currently spending. I took the hard vote today to save our state.

Our work, however, is far from finished. Our vote today was only the first step of many required in order to put our state on a path toward prosperity. I pledge to the citizens of the 93rd District to continue to work with my colleagues in the House on crucial reforms that are paramount to ensuring Illinois thrives for generations to come.”

MACOMB –Assistant House Minority Leader Norine K. Hammond (R-Macomb) provided the following statement as an update to the Special Session in Springfield:

“On June 15, the Governor issued a proclamation calling the General Assembly back to Springfield on June 21 for the purpose of considering legislation that addresses a comprehensive state budget as well as economic and structural reforms. Today, as the House and Senate go into Special Session, I want to renew my pledge to the citizens of the 93rd District: I remain ready and willing to debate, negotiate, compromise on, and pass a comprehensive, balanced budget.

This budget must include adequate funding for our state universities, MAP grant recipients, human services, among so many other state agencies and programs. Negotiating and compromising on a comprehensive budget is not a simple task. This task, however, is attainable. In fact, it is not only attainable, it must be accomplished before the end of this fiscal year.

I know, as so many individuals and businesses that I’ve spoken with have told me, that you are all counting on Springfield to do what is right by the state and pass a comprehensive state budget. Again, I am ready and willing, as I have been for the entirety of this impasse, to work with all of my colleagues in the House, negotiate, and compromise in order to accomplish this task.”
It is, indeed, entirely unacceptable that Illinois is poised to enter a third year with no State Budget in place.  We need a balanced budget right now!  We cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good.  We also cannot let the bad pass as good just to drop a mission accomplished banner and pat ourselves on the back.

Without a real balanced and austere solution, we will soon begin to see irreversible damage done to our schools, institutions of higher education, social service providers and the businesses and vendors that provide goods and services to our State.  What we cannot do, though, is repeat the mistakes of the past.  Passing an unbalanced budget only causes further damage to a state that is already fiscally insolvent. 

However, if we recognize in a bipartisan way that our State is at the brink of disaster, we can begin to address the problem in a meaningful way.  The Senate’s tax increase proposal does little to address the systemic problems that got us here.  The notion that we can dig out without a combination of some new revenue and some reforms is simply naive.  We need a coordinated effort in June by members of both parties to work together and turn this situation around.  We cannot allow the State to go into the new fiscal year beginning July 1st without a compromise, balanced budget in place.

A lot can happen in a small amount of time in Springfield if we truly work on this problem together, recognizing each others’ priorities.  It’s going to take hard work and a very real commitment by both sides to do so.  So let me be clear- I continue to be committed to putting aside my ideology in recognition of these challenges, but we must avoid “magical thinking” if we hope to dig our way out.  Anyone who tells you this can be fixed without sacrifices is lying to you.  Make no mistake- there will be sacrifices if we want the games to end.  There will have to be resolve to break the bad habits that got us to this tragic condition.  Stop the games, stop the politics and let’s work together to get this done.

Rep. Norine Hammond

State Representative, 93rd District
from McDonough County Voice, April 26, 2017, By: Jared DuBach

MACOMB — While much of the public’s focus has been on the issues surrounding the 22-month state budget stalemate, a number of bills have been making their way through the General Assembly with regard to environmental concerns and impact on statewide industry.
The Voice on Friday sat down with state Rep. Norine Hammond, R-Macomb, to talk about a number of bills she has sponsored and co-sponsored, as well as her recent appointment as vice chair of the Midwestern Legislative Conference Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee. The committee provides bipartisan collaboration among 11 Midwestern states and four Canadian provinces.

The Committee

The ag and natural resource committee is part of the Council of State Governments, which includes all 50 states and eight Canadian provinces. The council has various areas broken into regions, and State Ag and Rural Leaders (SARL) is part of the Midwest council region. In 2011, Hammond was appointed to SARL by the Democrat majority in the House. She has been on SARL’s board for...read more here
MACOMB –Assistant House Minority Leader Norine K. Hammond (R-Macomb) provided the following Mid-Session Update:

“For those of you that are not aware, there was a demonstration outside of my Macomb office on April 17 from 4:00 to 5:00 PM. As a result, I wanted to address not only these passionate constituents but all of the citizens of the 93rd District to provide an update on the Spring Legislative Session.

I’d like to thank all of the constituents who have reached out to me and continue to do so through these trying times. The concerns continue to be well-recognized by all Illinois residents. The top, salient concern continues to be that Illinois does not have a budget, which in turn leaves social services, higher education, services for seniors, and so much more underfunded or, in the worst case, completely unfunded. For the past two years, I have repeatedly called on our state leadership (i.e., leaders of both parties in the House and Senate, and the Governor) to negotiate a compromise and comprehensive budget. Unfortunately, even with these efforts, some members have not been able to negotiate and/or compromise in good faith, which has ultimately resulted in this ridiculous impasse in which we find ourselves.
From The Midwestern Office of the Council of State Governments

LOMBARD, IL — Representative Norine Hammond has been appointed to serve as vice-chair of a regional committee of legislators that will examine key agriculture and natural resource issues while pursuing opportunities for interstate and binational cooperation, policy-making and information sharing.

As vice-chair of the bipartisan Midwestern Legislative Conference Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee, Hammond will be working with leaders from 11 states and four Canadian provinces. Hammond will lead the committee as the members continue their work to enhance the economic relationship between the Midwestern states and neighboring Canadian provinces and to support efforts to ensure viable rural communities, strong agricultural and natural resource industries and environments.

Each state and province in the region can appoint as many as six legislators to serve on this MLC committee.

The Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee provides an opportunity for Midwestern legislators to examine issues affecting rural communities, including rural economies, agriculture, energy, forestry and wildlife of the individual states and of the region as a whole. The Committee’s focus is on those issues related to the approaches policymakers have taken to promoting the related industries, and the impact of federal policies on the industries, the land and people involved. 

The Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee will have many issues to address with rural communities facing financial erosion in both farm income and rural job losses and a growing list of federal issues including food safety, trade and discussions beginning on the 2018 farm bill.

MACOMB –Assistant House Minority Leader Norine K. Hammond (R-Macomb) issued the following statement after the passage of HB 109, also known as the “lifeline” bill:

“I want to make it abundantly clear to all of the citizens of the 93rd District my reason for voting ‘no’ on HB 109. First, let me address the timeline for context. The amendment, which became the bill, was filed less than 24 hours before it was voted on in committee and on the House floor. In that time, I quickly read the bill and our research staff did an on-the-fly analysis of the funds that would be appropriated as a result of the bill’s passage.

On the morning of April 6, my intention was to vote ‘yes’ on HB 109 because at the time all I knew was our state universities need operating funds and Illinois college students need MAP grants. After being able to assess the funds that would be appropriated, a few key elements ultimately shaped my vote. In regard to the funds that would be appropriated to higher education (including MAP grants), all of this money in the bill is appropriated from the Education Assistance Fund. Moreover, based on our estimate, if the money gets appropriated (i.e., assuming it passes the Senate and the Governor signs the bill), the fund would break even by the end of the fiscal year. On this point, I wanted to vote yes.

The bill didn’t just appropriate funds for higher education, though; the bill also appropriated money to social services. This would not have been an issue if this bill was not drafted in haste. There were programs that were being funded in this bill that do not exist. Let me repeat that: millions of taxpayer dollars would be appropriated to programs that do not exist. Additionally, and unfortunately, the social services portion of this bill is underfunded by over $60 million. And, if this bill were to pass into law, this means the millions of dollars going to non-existent programs won’t be able to go to the social services and programs not included in this bill from the start.

Even more concerning, the Senate had already adjourned by the time the House voted on the bill. This wouldn’t be a problem except that the Senate is not scheduled to return until April 25. At that point, they could take up the bill and pass it. However, we would all be foolish not to think what the Governor would do if the bill passed the Senate. The Governor has already vowed to veto this bill. I am not pointing this out to say that we shouldn’t pass bills that the Governor doesn’t like; I am pointing this out because if the Governor vetoes the bill and it comes back to the House and then the Senate, so much time will have been wasted over a bill that could be so much more comprehensive. Simply put, a reasonable, compromise budget that truly funds higher education, social services, services for seniors, and so many other worthy state services and programs has just been delayed as a result of this bill’s passage in the House.

I remain ready and committed to working with any and all members of the General Assembly, who want to take this process seriously, on a comprehensive, compromise budget that adequately funds all of the state’s vital services. I only hope that this can be accomplished sooner, rather than later.”

Hammond represents all or part of Brown, Cass, Fulton, Knox, Mason, McDonough, Schuyler and Warren counties.

MACOMB –Assistant House Minority Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) issued the following statement after the Governor’s Budget Address on Wednesday:

“The Governor extended an opportunity for legislators from both chambers and from both parties to work together.  He presented a framework for those negotiations and acknowledged we must expand our revenue base.  The Governor showed an eagerness to be part of the solution, but he can’t do it alone.  No one party or one chamber can do it on their own.  It must be a collaboration," said Hammond.

“The Senate proved they can do heavy lifting on a proposed budget, and now we’ll need action in the House to work together.  However we must grow our tax base,” Hammond continued, “this is a really important point, because if
MACOMB –On the heels of being re-appointed an Assistant House Minority Leader two weeks ago, State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) announced that she has been appointed as Minority Spokesperson of both the Higher Education and Consumer Protection Committees.

In addition to serving as Minority Spokesperson of the Higher Education Committee, Hammond will also serve on the Higher Education Appropriations Committee, giving her greater influence over statewide policy on both higher education policy and funding issues.

Rep. Hammond stands as one of the strongest voices in the Illinois House for Higher Education issues facing downstate universities and colleges. “Western Illinois University, Spoon River
MACOMB – Assistant House Republican Leader Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) issued the following statement following the Governor’s State of the State Address:

“Two important aspects of the Governor’s speech stood out to me.  The first is that nothing has changed with the geography of our state and its natural assets and resources.  This is still a great State.  We’ve been successful and competitive in the past and have every opportunity to be so again.  Second, is the Governor’s statement that we ‘must respect our taxpayers’.  This is critical in all we do,” said Rep. Hammond from Springfield on Wednesday.

Hammond encouraged residents of the 93rd district to contact her with questions or concerns on this or any other state issue. Hammond’s Macomb district office can be contacted at (309) 836-2707. Constituents can also visit her legislative website at www.norinehammond.org to sign up for her electronic newsletter.

Hammond represents all or part of Brown, Cass, and Fulton, Knox, Mason, McDonough, Schuyler and Warren counties.

MACOMB – Assistant House Republican Leader Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) criticized House Rules passed the Speaker Madigan’s Majority Party as ‘stilted’ and ‘contrary to how we teach school-children the legislative process is supposed to work.”

“The average person in Illinois thinks of a ‘schoolhouse rocks’ explanation of how a bill becomes a law.  However, what many Illinoisans don’t realize is that bills are not debated or considered just because they’re proposed.  In reality, Speaker Madigan and his top lieutenants have complete control over which bills are even debated.  Having served on boards with legislators from across the US, they are befuddled by the complete control the Speaker has in the Illinois House Rules.  It’s simply undemocratic,” said Hammond on Tuesday from Springfield.

Hammond continued, “the public deserves the opportunity to know what their legislators are voting on.  Legislators deserve the opportunity to read what they are to vote on.  We all deserve better than what we are getting with these stilted House Rules designed to allow Speaker Madigan to tighten his grip on power in Illinois, all the while our state continues a downward spiral.”
From the left, Chuck Gilbert, Deckle McLean, Nick Pano, Jackie Thompson, Rep. Hammond, and Patti Jones.

Macomb...On Thursday of this week, State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) met with the Executive Board of the WIU Chapter of the State University Annuitants Association, a statewide organization that represents current and former employees of Illinois colleges and universities.

Patti Jones, president of WIU/SUAA, wanted to discuss with Rep. Hammond topics of concern for retirees, like the Illinois budget impasse, funding of MAP grants and pensions, as well as legislative priorities of the Legislature and how these will impact our district.

Both Hammond and the board members felt that the meeting was productive.
MACOMB - Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) was re-appointed to her second term as an Assistant House Republican Leader by Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) on Tuesday.

“I am so honored that Leader Durkin has provided this opportunity to continue to provide leadership for Western Illinois as well as helping to guide policy for all of Illinois,” said Rep. Hammond.  “Leader Durkin has been a powerful voice for righting our fiscal ship of state and I am humbled to be asked to be a part of his new Leadership Team for the 100th General Assembly.”

“Norine is a strong voice for her district, but also a strong voice within our caucus,” said Leader Durkin.  “She never waivers in her convictions and always provides a commonsense perspective to solving our state’s problems.  Norine is an outstanding leader within the General Assembly and I’m proud to have her as an integral part of our leadership team.”

Rep. Hammond has gained a reputation as a passionate advocate for agriculture, higher education and job creation in Illinois.  She attended Western Illinois University in Macomb and served as an Emmet Township Trustee and became Township Supervisor in 2006.  She served 14 years as Legislative Aide to the late Rep. Rich Myers before being appointed to fill his term in 2010.
MACOMB - Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) was sworn in to her fifth term in the Illinois House of Representatives on Wednesday during the inaugural of the historic 100th General Assembly held at the University of Illinois-Springfield’s Sangamon Auditorium.

Pledging to continue to try to bring disparate parties together toward compromise to move our state forward.  “The inauguration is always an opportunity to start anew and our state government certainly needs to start anew.  I hope that all parties can set aside the past differences and get down to business to make Illinois citizens proud as we approach the 200th anniversary of statehood next year,” said Hammond.

Hammond was one of only a handful of speakers at the Inauguration, wherein she nominated Leader Jim Durkin to serve as Speaker of the House over current Speaker Michael Madigan.  Hammond, in her nomination speech, lauded Durkin as the Speaker Illinois deserves, “When the debate was raging about higher education funding and it became apparent that some on the other side would have rather stalled than getting the job done, Leader Durkin personally interceded and pulled in democrat lawmakers to get the job done... Leader Durkin has shown incredible prowess in building consensus both among his colleagues on this side of the aisle as well as our colleagues on the other side of the aisle.  Further he does so in a respectful manner.”

The House of Representatives of the new 100th General Assembly is comprised of 67 Democrats and 51 Republicans.  Representative Michael J. Madigan of Chicago was re-elected Speaker of the House for another two-year term.  Representative Jim Durkin of Western Springs was re-elected Minority Leader.

Hammond encouraged residents of the 93rd district to contact her with questions or concerns on this or any other state issue. Hammond’s Macomb district office can be contacted at (309) 836-2707 and she can be reached via e-mail at rephammond@macomb.com. Constituents can also visit her legislative website at www.norinehammond.org to sign up for her electronic newsletter.

Hammond represents all or part of Brown, Cass, and Fulton, Knox, Mason, McDonough, Schuyler and Warren counties.