The second major milestone in Illinois state government for the year was hit this week, with lawmakers coming together from both the Senate and the House of Representatives to listen to the annual Budget Address on Feb. 14.
After attending the speech, State Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) was cautiously optimistic about the spending plan presented to the General Assembly.
“One of the fundamentally basic, but still critical, aspects of the Governor’s spending plan is that it is balanced, adhering to our Constitutional requirement and calling for the state to spend within its means,” said Sen. Fowler. “Stability won’t be sustained on a foundation of reckless spending or a crushing tax burden. We have to be realistic and responsible, working toward a brighter future for our state by putting an end to the cycle of overspending and overtaxing.”
Other key points from the speech critical for downstate Illinois include $100 million for higher education improvements, $100 million for statewide emergency repairs and calls for 100 new Illinois State Police Cadets, urging a tougher approach toward crime.
“Another exciting component to the proposed budget is the direct investment in the future of Southern Illinois, allocating $1 million toward the Cairo river port project,” said Sen. Fowler. “Our region has so much to offer this state in terms of opportunities, future development and potential. I’m extremely encouraged that this budget recognizes the need to invest in Southern Illinois and takes steps toward revitalizing and reviving Cairo and our surrounding communities.”
With a balanced budget on the table, Sen. Fowler stresses the importance for lawmakers to work together moving forward.
“This budget isn’t perfect and just like any other budget proposal, we have work ahead of us and tough decisions to make. However, we have a good starting foundation: a balanced budget that outlines some of the critical areas for Illinois to address. Lawmakers now have a responsibility to come together, pass the reforms our state so desperately needs, and pass a budget that works for our state and the people we represent,” concluded Sen. Fowler.
In other news this week, Illinois lost a true hero when Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer was shot and killed on Feb. 13. In honor of his memory, all entities governed by the Illinois Flag Display Act were instructed to fly both the United States and Illinois state flags at half-staff. Commander Bauer lost his life while confronting an armed suspect outside the James R. Thompson Center, a state government office building in downtown Chicago. Bauer was a 31-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department.
Finally, Sen. Fowler is reminding people about the upcoming voter registration deadline. Illinois residents looking to vote in the March 20 primary election need to be registered by Feb. 20, which is the end of the regular registration period. This deadline also applies to those people who need to change their names or addresses. More information on registration and how to vote can be found on Sen. Fowler’s website, senatorfowler.com.
News from the District
Before heading back to Springfield for the week, Sen. Fowler joined Mineral Products, Inc. to learn more about the first-ever railroad cleaning machine, manufactured and assembled in Southern Illinois. This one-of-a-kind machine is 45 months in the making, bringing innovation and opportunity to the region. Sen. Fowler is excited for this development, noting the potential for economic growth and development when the machine hits the market. Sen. Fowler intends to join Mineral Products when they unveil their product in March.
Also this week, Sen. Fowler joined the Anna Morris Retired Teachers Association for their breakfast meeting, answering questions and discussing their thoughts and concerns about issues impacting their members.
Finally, Sen. Fowler welcomed students from the Saline County CEO program to his District Office. Sen. Fowler is a mentor with the innovative program, working to encourage entrepreneurship and leadership among the participants.