Governor Quinn sings the budget
On the first day of Fiscal Year 2011, Governor Quinn finally made public his plans for the coming year’s budget. Although his plan makes severe cuts to a number of programs, agencies, and state bureaucracy, it maintains funding for key state funded initiatives.
Throughout the legislative session, the Senate Democrats sought to find responsible budget solutions that included a shared sacrifice amongst state agencies and legislators. Our caucus has always maintained a serious commitment to finding short-term and long-term solutions to stabilize the state budget without severely slashing education funding.
Absent the willingness by lawmakers outside the caucus to increase revenues, the General Assembly acted by passing a budget to Governor Quinn that lived within its financial means, cutting the bureaucracy from government and lowering state spending by 5 percent while stabilizing funding for critical programs.
New laws sponsored by Senate Democrats take effect July 1
A number of new laws take effect today; some streamline or eliminate work to reduce inefficiency and cut costs by cutting red tape or building in more frequent reporting, while others provide meaningful reform to significant functions such as campaign finance reform.
Senator Kim Lightford's minimum wage increases continue to help working families
July 1, the Illinois minimum wage rises from $8 an hour to $8.25. The increase will help countless working families cope under the weight of an economic crisis that has seen the cost of living rise while incomes have fallen. Each year since 2007, the minimum wage has increased as a result of legislation sponsored and passed by Illinois Assistant Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford.
As a long-time advocate for working men and women across Illinois, Senator Lightford began her work to increase the minimum wage in 2006 when she passed legislation establishing a gradual increase. On July 1, 2007, the state increased its minimum wage to $7.50 an hour and it increased by 25 cents each year on July 1. This year's hike represents the final increase.
With so many families facing economic hardship, the increase comes at an appropriate time. Workers continue to struggle to provide food and healthcare for their families and the increased minimum wage helps ease their burden.
Senator Lightford believes a job should help a person overcome poverty rather than keep him or her in it. While the cost of living continues to rise, a higher minimum wage helps hard-working men and women in Illinois to make ends meet.
Senator Lightford has served in the Illinois Senate since 1998 when she became the youngest African American woman elected to serve in the General Assembly. She resides in Maywood with her son, Isaiah.
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