Former Lt. governor and state senatorial candidate Sheila Simon wants state lawmakers to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of a spending bill that would have funded social services as well as colleges and universities.
"I urge all Springfield lawmakers to swiftly vote to override the governor's veto," Simon, a Democrat who is running for the 58th district state senate seat, said via statement Monday. "There are plenty of fiscal arguments for why they should do so, but only one moral one: It is wrong to neglect our duty to those who need our help."
Rauner vetoed the $3.89 billion package Friday, calling it an "unfunded, empty promise." Grants for low-income students, social services and community colleges and universities would have been funded under the bill, sending this fiscal year's unreleased funds to those entities.
"For the past year, the message Governor Rauner has sent is that political bickering is more important than the needs of the students who want to go to college in Illinois or the troubles of the state's most vulnerable citizens," Simon said.
"The best and most accessible colleges for many native Illinoisans need to think about laying off staff and cutting programs, even as the funding sits unspent and the General Assembly has repeatedly approved spending plans," she added. "The programs and services that the poor, the sick and the mentally ill turn to when they have nowhere else to seek help are not being paid for their work."
Illinois has gone without a budget for more than 11 months. Last week, Moody's Investor Services and the Standard & Poor's downgraded Illinois' credit rating, while Fitch Ratings put the state on a negative watch due to the almost yearlong state budget impasse.