Assistant House Minority Leader Norine K. Hammond (R-Macomb) provided the following statement as result of the special session called for K-12 Education Funding Reform:

“Governor Rauner called a special session to start on Wednesday, July 26 for the purpose of reforming the way in which the state funds K-12 education. Over the course of this last legislative session, it was agreed to by both chambers and parties that an evidence-based K-12 education funding formula was the most equitable funding formula for the students of Illinois.

During the legislative session, Senate Bill 1, which reforms the state’s K-12 education funding formula to an evidence-based one, passed the House and Senate but was never sent to the Governor. I support moving to an evidence-based model of school funding. I cannot, however, support SB 1 in its current form. If my colleagues can agree to remove the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) pension payment from the formula, I could support this measure. Until then, though, I will be working with my colleagues to make changes to the legislation.

The reason for this is not a small one. Millions and millions of dollars in general state aid are sent to CPS to pick up the cost of one school district's initiatives and pension obligation under SB 1. The rest of the state's school districts, however, must pick up the cost of programs like Early Childhood Education, different forms of transportation, and pension and healthcare related costs, where CPS does not because the entire state subsidizes them.

For that reason, I continue to support the evidence-based alternative with true equity, HB 4069. According to Illinois State Board of Education data, under HB 4069, which is identical to SB 1 with the exception of the millions that go to CPS pensions, all Illinois school districts are treated fairly and receive more equitable funding. SB 1 favors one school district; HB 4069 treats all school districts based on the agreed upon evidence-based funding formula.

If the state of Illinois is going to create a more equitable funding formula for K-12 education, we should do so without favoring one school district.”
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.”