Forty-one Illinois mayors and village presidents are calling on state lawmakers to approve stopgap budget bills introduced by Republican legislative leaders.
In an op-ed for the State Journal-Register, the municipal leaders -- including the mayors of Naperville, Mount Sterling, Lincoln, Peoria, Rockford, Auburn and other cities across the state -- said the legislation would ensure schools open on time in the fall and government operations continue once the new fiscal year begins July 1.
"This common-sense plan serves as a bridge that allows schools to open, protects public safety and avoids a government shutdown," the op-ed reads. "This plan is fiscally prudent and fully-funded, contrary to the numerous unfunded, out-of-balance spending plans we've seen come out of the legislature this session."
The regular Illinois legislative session ended May 31 without a budget or an education spending measure. Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin have proposed a spending bill to cover K-12 education during the 2017 fiscal year.
"Unlike previously floated education plans, this proposal is fully funded and would not require any additional revenues or add to the state's ever-increasing bill backlog," the mayors and village presidents wrote. "Additionally, the bill contains a hold-harmless provision which ensures that any school which would have lost dollars under the current funding formula will at least receive the same amount as they did last year.
"There's no question the current school funding formula is flawed and needs to be changed. But passing this stopgap bill will allow time for a new school funding formula to be negotiated that will help impoverished school districts statewide without detrimentally stripping funding from suburban districts."
The municipal leaders also called for passage of Durkin and Radogno's short-term budget proposal, saying it "serves as a bridge to keep government functioning and protects public health, welfare and safety."