Harmon05292017The most meaningful reform Gov. Bruce Rauner can sign into law after two years of gridlock in Springfield is a balanced budget, Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) said today (May 29, 2017).

“Citizens and businesses in Illinois need predictability, stability and certainty, and Senate Democrats are offering that with a balanced budget,” Harmon said. “They’ll know what they are in for, they’ll know the state will pay its bills, and they’ll know that the state will be here to provide the services that everyone relies upon us to provide.”

Harmon elaborated on a series of reforms the Senate passed last week in conjunction with a balanced budget at the behest of Gov. Rauner and others to make the state more business friendly. The reforms include workers’ compensation reform, procurement reform, local government consolidation reform and school funding reform. Senate Democrats also have indicated a willingness to enact a two-year property tax freeze.

“Nobody likes property taxes. We’re proposing a freeze in property taxes. We’d like to hit the pause button so that we can implement state financial reforms and protect local property taxpayers from increase at the local level,” Harmon said.

He noted that the Senate most recently enacted major reform of the state’s workers’ compensation system in 2011.

“Those reforms are paying dividends, but we aren’t seeing those benefits being passed down from the insurance companies to the local businesses that buy their insurance,” he said. “The reforms we’re advancing this session will attempt to deal with that, will attempt to ensure that the premiums, the rates people pay for their workers’ compensation reflect the strides we’ve made in reforming the system.”

 

Category: News

Budget General350Dear friends,

After almost 700 days without a budget, Senate Democrats did what Gov. Bruce Rauner and the GOP would not. We passed a balanced budget.

Senate Democrats accepted the responsibility of putting together a combination of cuts, reforms and revenue that balance Gov. Rauner's proposed $37.3 billion budget and bring stability to a state in crisis.

Our budget restores certainty for students from preschool through college by re-establishing stable funding for universities and community colleges that have suffered without any state support since January and haven't had a full budget in more than two years. It ensures public schools can open in the fall and fully funds MAP grants for college students.

Some of the people most deeply affected by the budget crisis are those who need the state's help the most. Our budget fully funds vital human services, including breast and cervical cancer screenings, addiction treatment, early childhood intervention, domestic violence shelters, mental health programs, child care services and the Community Care Program that helps independent seniors stay in their homes.

Additionally, our budget reinstates important human service grant programs, including autism support, youth employment, Teen Reach, community youth services, immigrant services and addiction prevention services.

Lawmakers have a responsibility to put an end to the chaos that has gripped the state during the budget stalemate and begin restoring Illinois' reputation as a place worthy of putting down roots. Without a responsible state budget, Illinois can not have a strong economy, vibrant communities, well educated children, healthy families and long-term growth.

You'll have an opportunity to learn more about the state budget, ask questions and find out about some of my legislative initiatives during a series of upcoming town hall meetings. Read on in this newsletter for more details.
As always, I encourage you to stay in touch. Should you have any questions, please contact my office at 708-848-2002.

Sincerely,
Senator Don Harmon
39th District – Illinois

Read more ...

Category: E-Newsletters

Harmon05262017Senator Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat and president pro tempore of the Illinois Senate, issued the following statement about the Senate’s votes Friday to significantly reform Illinois’ workers’ compensation system:

“Senate Democrats sent a strong message today that, while we are open to working our partners in the business community to reform the state’s workers’ compensation system, we are not willing to do so entirely on the backs of Illinois workers. We were able to identify sensible reforms on both sides of the equation – the employer side and the employee side – that will help to bring costs down without inflicting additional and unnecessary financial harm on injured workers.

“Workers’ compensation reform is one of Governor Rauner’s demands to sign our balanced budget. We have delivered on that demand and many others. It’s time for him to deliver on ours – that he signs our budget so we can move the state forward.”

Category: News

Harmon05252017It’s not the most provocative topic at the Statehouse, but the process for determining how new laws will be implemented by state agencies briefly took center stage in the Senate Thursday afternoon.

Legislation sponsored by Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) seeks to correct a few problems that have arisen in the General Assembly’s bipartisan rule-making review process, which is carried out by a 12-lawmaker panel known as the Joint Commission on Administration Rules – or JCAR.

Harmon is a co-chairman of the commission. He said the legislation is a response to actual problems the commission has encountered, not a backdoor attempt to hamstring a governor – an accusation levied by at least one Republican senator.

But Harmon added that the commission wants to demand accountability of state agencies and increase efficiency and transparency in the rule-making review process.

“There is nothing saucy here. These are ministerial and mundane things. This is simply an attempt to help us maintain balance between the executive and legislative branches,” Harmon said. “The executive branch has only the rule-making authority that the General Assembly delegates to it. This is not about Democrat or Republican, or about this governor or that governor. This is about the Legislature protecting its domain from executive overreach.”

JCAR seldom gets much public attention, but its work is vitally important because it oversees how rules are promulgated by state agencies and it facilitates public comment about rules and regulations.

The problems Harmon’s measure seeks to address include agencies asking for rules to be pushed through on an “emergency” basis when there is no emergency, just poor planning on their part; clarifying that JCAR may review standardized forms for policy content; and updating a guideline about how frequently JCAR may evaluate existing agency rules.

The measure, House Bill 3222, passed 36-21 in the Senate Thursday.

Category: News

Harmon05192017Senator Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat and president pro tempore of the Illinois Senate, issued the following statement regarding today’s Senate vote to advance a balanced budget proposal and establish desperately needed fiscal stability in Illinois:

“Gov. Rauner often brags about how he’s causing a crisis to create “opportunity.” What he’s really doing is inflicting pain every day on the good, hard-working people of Illinois who eventually have to pay for the cost of his mismanagement.

“Today, Senate Democrats passed a balanced, responsible, full-year budget that offers stability and attempts to blunt the pain of Gov. Rauner’s hostage-taking. We cut $3 billion in government spending and added no new programs – because that’s the right thing to do when asking taxpayers to kick in a little more.

“Having witnessed last week that Republicans won’t even support their own budget plan, Democrats put forth a budget that better reflects our priorities and those of our constituents, including health care for the poor, funding for public schools and universities, tax credits for the working poor and for teachers, and vital services for those who need our help the most.

“And because we also passed a series of good-government reforms – including my government purchasing reform bill, a government consolidation bill and a term limit rule for Senate leadership –this is a budget Gov. Rauner should be able to sign into law when it gets to his desk.

“I look forward to the day when we can move on to addressing other important matters facing state government and put this ugly chapter in Illinois history behind us.”

Category: News

Contact Me

Email Senator Harmon

Springfield Office:
329 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(p) 217.782.8176
(f) 217.558.6013

Oak Park Office:
6941-B W. North Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60302
(p) 708.848.2002
(f) 708.848.2022

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