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State Sen. Jeff Schoenberg of Evanston told aldermen Monday another round of state budget cuts is likely this year that “will impact core services for communities around the state.”

Schoenberg, at the City Council Rules Committee meeting Monday.

State Sen. Jeff Schoenberg of Evanston told aldermen Monday another round of state budget cuts is likely this year that “will impact core services for communities around the state.”

Schoenberg, who’s retiring after 22 years in Springfield, said the budget picture is “sobering at best.”

Making one of a series of presentations by local members of the legislature to the aldermen, he said Gov. Quinn’s budget projections show only $162 million left over after nearly $34 billion in current spending to pay off just a tiny portion of the state’s outstanding bills, which now total over $8 billion.

He said he believes both the House and Senate will end up cutting the governor’s revenue projections and are unlikely to approve all the spending additions the governor has called ofr.

He said the state is planning to make $950 million more in payments into state pension funds above what it paid last year — and plans to pay it in full from current revenue without borrowing.

“But that crowds out our ability to fund some our most critical programs in areas like education, health, human services and public safety,” Schoenberg added.

He said continued high unemployment levels mean more people are without private insurance — which drives up demand for the state’s Medicaid program.

Schoenberg said former state Representative Julie Hamos of Evanston, who now heads the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, has been told by Quinn to reduce Medicaid spending by $2.7 billion, “and that’s going to be a formidable challenge without directly addressing eligibility requirements.”

If Schoenberg had any cheery news for the aldermen, it was that the talk of reducing state aide to local governments seems much more muffled this year than lasts.

“I attribute that to the fact that suburban mayors have alighned themselves with the new mayor of Chicago who’s weighed in in opposition to that.”

“So I don’t think that’s going to be confronting us in the months ahead,” Schoenberg added.

Schoenberg said he supports the referendum before Evanston voters on March 20 seeking voters opinions on whether to abolish Evanston Township.

But he said the bill he introduced to provide a clear legal path to abolish the township has “rather minimal at best” prospects for passage, because township officials across the state have pledged their full opposition to it.

Shoenberg said he sees at best “a very modest upward increase” in the state’s economy and revenues over the next three to four years.

“That means we will continue to have to find ways to squeeze every last cent of efficiency out of what we do, and do it at a time when more and more people will be calling on our help because the employment situation remains very challenging.”

Mayor Tisdahl and aldermen Braithwaite and Wynne join in the standing ovation for Schoenberg.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl praised Schoenberg for his efforts for his home town in Springfield — most notably securing state funds for replacing several of the century-old CTA viaducts in Evanston, and with that the aldermen gave him a standing ovation to thank him for his years of service to the community.

Evanston officials and activists travel to Springfield Wednesday to make their case to lawmakers and administrative officials for the city’s funding priorities.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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8 Comments

  1. Evanston & Illinois Taxes are going up

    Illinois is broke and has $8 Billion of outstanding bills to pay along with other debt.

    Illinois has the lowest rated debt in the country.

    What is the state government going to do? Raise taxes.

    City of Evanston is in a financial bind, and as Senator Schoenberg said, that there will likely be another round of State budget cuts which will impact the core services of communities. He means there will be less money for the City of Evanston, District 202 and District 65.

    What will those 3 local government bodies do?

    Correct, raise taxes.

    Given this situation, how can we justify keeping the Evanston Township which has a $1.5 mm budget and provides duplicative services. Eliminate the Township and save $500,000 every year.

    How can we afford to build a new school for $25mm and spend $2mm each year to operate the school?

    Where is all this money going to come from?

    If the Leprechaun delivers Evanston a pot of gold on March 17th, I'll vote affirmatively for the Township and School Referendum.

    Else, Vote to Eliminate the Township and Vote NO for the School Referendum

  2. Vote NO on the new school referendum

    Did you know that the $48 million new school referendum doesn't include the cost to operate it.

    It is estimated that it would cost another $8 million to run the new school and that the D65 Board would have to ask voters to approve ANOTHER referendum to raise taxes to operate the new school.

    Meanwhile, Citizens for a Better Evanston is a well-funded and well-connected organization that is holding meetings and sending out fliers and brochures in support of the new school. The founder of CBE was appointed by Hardy Murphy to sit on the New School Committee.

    This entire new school issue stinks to high heaven. I know the unions and Democrat politicans want it.

    A new school would be a money pit and our taxes would rise much more. Don't forget that even though the D65 Board last month magically found millions to balance the budget, that same budget is expected to go in the red by millions in two years.

    D65 enrollment hasn't even reached enrollment levels 10 years ago. The New School Committee never considered that fact. Nor did the New School Committee consider Roycemore's huge expansion and effort to increase its enrollment by at least 100 students.

    Here's a news flash – I just heard that owners of a Montessori school are going to buy the Evanston Arts Center located near the Evanston Lighthouse.

    Do NOT vote for the new school. Vote it down and then vote out the D65 Board members who tried to ram it through.

    1. Re-elect Rykus and Budde next year to school board

      The only two who voted NO to the school referendum. 

      Two who will not campaign against a referndum BECAUSE IT IS ILLEGAL FOR SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS AND EMPLOYEES to campaign for or against school referendums.  

      Two of three who voted NOT to quietly  increase Hardy Murphy's pay last August-.http://evanstonnow.com/story/education/charles-bartling/2011-08-23/43595/d65-board-sweetens-chiefs-compensation

      Budde and Rykhus- the only two worth trusting to do what is best for kids- Prioritizing teachers over spaces.

       

      1. The best for what kids….I

        The best for what kids….I guess not the kids in the fifth ward who have been bused out of their community… So that the students up north … Can have diverse classrooms.. I guess it would be good.. Because those students are getting the best resources in our community and students in fifth ward are not.

      2. Also re-elect Tracy Quattrocki

        I also fully support Budde & Ryhkus, but they are not up for re-election in Spring of 2013.

        Tracy Quattrocki will be up for re-election and our community needs her back on the board. She is smart, cares for all kids, does her homework, and is committed to equity and excellence in education. She has been a tremendous asset to the District 65 School Board.

        DO NOT interpret her vote on the school board as supporting the new school. Her vote was meant to bring this complex issue to the community and let the community decide.

  3. Schoenberg Hypocritical

    "That means we will continue to have to find ways to squeeze every last cent of efficiency out of what we do, and do it at a time when more and more people will be calling on our help because the employment situation remains very challenging."

    If this is what Jeff Schoenberg believes then why is he supporting the D65 school referendum?

  4. Time to cut

    most of the aides that report to out state reps and senators. I have read in the past that Madigan has as many as 60 people reporting to him. About 2/3 are part time and most of those are union members. The purpose is that these people will receive pensions and have the possibility of getting very large pensions if they find ways to slip between the cracks.

    I would bet that this goes far beyond Madigan and could save the state several 100 million dollars plus future pension expenses.

    Does anyone remember that Madigan was under investigation for leasing several empty building to the state and the state never used the buildings? Does anyone remember that the investigation was dropped, without comment, within a month after his daughter, Lisa Madigan, took over the Illinois Attorney General's office.

    Funny how things like that happen in Illinois. Is there a reason why Lisa Madigan never sought the Governor office or the US Senate? Will she waite until her father has retired for a few years?

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