ILLINOIS (WMBD) — After multiple years of population declines, it is expected for Illinois’ districts to be shaken up a bit.
State Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) joined Matt Sheehan for On the Record Thursday morning to discuss how this could impact us here in Central Illinois.
The Illinois House and Senate are both looking for public input. Koehler said this is to ensure the maps will be redrawn fairly.
“People want to express their opinions on how districts should be made up,” Koehler said. It’s very important to keep communities that relate to each other intact. We have the Voting Rights Act federally which we have to make sure we follow.”
Koehler is sponsoring Senate Bill 1533, which allows disabled servicemembers an exemption to getting a trapping license.
“It’s to help them be able to afford having a hunting license. It’s a very small number of hunters within the state, but it’s always important to take care of our veterans,” Koehler said.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D-IL) has released his proposed 2022 budget and promised no tax increases. He is also going to slash spending for a second year in a row and discontinue $900 million in tax breaks for state businesses.
Koehler said he does agree with most of the things in Pritzker’s budget, except for a lack of education funding.
“The only part of the budget that I really don’t agree with is that he’s zeroed out the evidence-based school funding model again this year. We did that last year because we were unsure of what the budget would look like going into the pandemic, but I think schools certainly need to have the resources they can to get out of the pandemic. A lot of them have had to incur other expenses because they’ve gone virtual with their classrooms. They’ve had to have PPE. I think it’s going to take a while for us to catch up too,” Koehler said.
Koehler also said there is a learning loss one has to take into consideration. Otherwise, he said it is a solid budget.
“I think it’s important to not make a tax increase this year. I think we need to make do with what we have,” Koehler said. “Last year our revenues were actually better than expected.”
Koehler said the revenues and sales tax revenues were up largely in part due to the federal stimulus money Illinoisans received.
“We’re lucky we came out as well as we did. We’re looking forward to this next year with the economy picking up again. In spite of the fact we’ve gone through a once-in-a-century pandemic, we’re gonna come out of this pretty well,” Koehler said.
Koehler said the state should use the federal stimulus money it’s received to cut down on debt and backlog.
“We borrowed a line of credit the federal government made possible because of the pandemic, let’s pay that off right away. Let’s make sure we have no backlog in term of vendors we owe from the State, because we pay a significant interest rate on that. Let’s get out of debt, because that lets us preserve the rest of our revenues for ongoing operations. Of course we have a capital bill too,”. Koehler said.
He said the capital bill has been on hold in terms of vertical construction, but that the road construction continues on schedule. Koehler said after this year, the state should see a turnaround in projects getting completed.
On the Record’s future schedule:
Wednesday, April 14. Gubernatorial candidate Gary Rabine on WMBD This Morning.
Wednesday, April 21. Former Secretary of Transportation and Congressman Ray LaHood.
April 8, 2021 at 04:37PM