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This week Rep. Butler led the Illinois House in recognizing and congratulating the Rochester Rockets High School football team on clinching their second consecutive state championship title.

Rep. Butler Thursday led the Illinois House in a moment of silence for U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Michael Aiello, whose remains were returned home to Sangamon County this week. Sgt. Aiello was killed in action in the Netherlands 73 years ago. He will be laid to rest at Camp Butler National Cemetery  on Saturday, October 28th.

Reforms Still Needed
Our two and a half year state budget stalemate finally came to an end this summer, but not in the way I had hoped. Both the House and Senate, by razor-thin margins, overrode Governor Rauner’s  budget veto, paving the way for permanent state income tax increases on Illinois families and job creators.  Upon the override vote, your personal state income tax rate increased from 3.75% to 4.95%. The budget also includes a new 5 cent per gallon state tax on gasoline which goes into the General Revenue Fund rather than into the Road Fund where it would be dedicated to repairing our infrastructure.

As disappointed as I am with the tax increases, what’s truly troubling is that Speaker Madigan adamantly refused to even consider any of the structural reforms we need to truly stabilize our finances. If this sounds familiar that’s because it is the same failed approach that the state took in 2011 – increase taxes without addressing any of the underlying issues hurting our state, and we all remember what happened. Families and businesses fled our state while our debts and unpaid bills continued to grow.

Simply increasing taxes is not a budget solution. I fought to pass a responsible, balanced comprehensive budget and reform package; and I will continue to do my best to advance new policies to make Illinois a place that families and businesses want to call home again.

All Students Win under New Education Funding Formula
In contrast to our strong budget disagreements, this week members of both parties in the House and Senate worked together to pass a new formula for funding our schools that will benefit all schools and students in Illinois. The governor has promised to promptly sign it.
The new “evidence-based” formula contained in SB 1947 prioritizes funding for our most impoverished schools and students while ensuring all 852 school districts in Illinois are treated fairly. Schools here in the 87th legislative district are poised to gain approximately $1.6 million in new funding compared to FY17.

Other important components of the plan include:
• A property tax relief provision, providing many homeowners the ability to reduce their property taxes;
• A tax credit scholarship program to help low and middle income students whose best educational option is private school;
• More equitable charter school funding so every child will be treated fairly according to their parents’ choice; and
• Mandate relief to provide districts more budgeting flexibility.

 This plan is realistic, fair and represents the best and most reasonable outcome for all Illinois students.
Representative Butler was proud to welcome to the Illinois House Mike and Brie Allison from Hand of Fate Brewing Company in Petersburg in recognition of Hand of Fate’s  What the Fuzz peach ginger cream ale being selected as the official craft beer of the Illinois Bicentennial.

At the Illinois State Fair, Hand of Fate beat out entries from 17 other craft breweries in Illinois to win the Craft Beer Competition, and the coveted official Bicentennial craft beer designation.
Standing against a substantial, permanent increase in the state income tax, Rep. Butler spoke about how  Illinois' high tax/poor business climate has impacted area families, including his own.

“Today I voted against a permanent, significant increase of the income tax in the State of Illinois. 

I am not opposed to supporting new avenues of revenue to help balance the state's budget.  Today's option, though, was voting for a permanent income tax increase bill coupled with a spending bill that was introduced just mere hours before consideration.   Even more dire than that, today's votes represent a one-sided end to negotiations when we need a compromise settlement to this impasse. 

The majority in the House had all session to introduce a budget that works for the people of Illinois, and they left it until the new fiscal year had already begun, then dropped a budget and passed it within hours.  This continues the decades-long practice of how Speaker Madigan runs the Illinois House.

The legislation put before us today does nothing to pay down the state's nearly $15 billion bill backlog.  It does nothing to address the outrageous amount of money owed to vendors throughout the 87th District. 

I want a truly balanced budget that is fair for the citizens of Illinois.  I want a state that is moving forward, competitive, and is creating jobs.  Today's votes did not meet that standard, and that is why I voted no.”
                                                                -Representative Tim Butler, 87th District
Rep. Butler issued the following statement in response to Governor Bruce Rauner convening the General Assembly for a special session regarding the state budget:

"I commend the Governor for doing what has not been done so far in June:  bringing the Legislature back to Springfield to hammer out a balanced budget compromise. Since the Speaker adjourned the House over two weeks ago, our State Capitol Building has sat silent in the midst of this unprecedented budget impasse.

"What we have seen this week is that the Republicans are taking the lead to end this ridiculous situation.  The balanced budget plan introduced by House and Senate Republicans takes the elements of the ‘grand bargain’ negotiated between Senators and attempts to move them forward in a bipartisan fashion. 

"I urge my Democrat colleagues to take this proposal seriously and work with us to move it forward.  The legislation in this proposal has been largely negotiated between the two parties in the Senate and the Governor's office has stated they will sign this plan.  This is the path forward to resolve the budget impasse."