SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to do more with less, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon is voluntarily asking the General Assembly to cut her budget by nearly 10 percent in the coming year.
Simon’s fiscal year 2013 appropriation request is 9.4 percent lower than her budget request from fiscal year 2012 and includes a reduction in full-time staff, from 24 to 21 members. The appropriation request is the lowest in more than 16 years and will net taxpayers a savings of nearly $200,000.
With her budget representing a fraction of a percent in state spending, Simon has set a fiscally conservative tone since taking office. This fiscal year, Simon is the only constitutional officer to return the equivalent of 12 days pay to the General Revenue Fund. Her senior staff voluntarily is taking four unpaid furlough days, as well.
“Before we ask more from the people of Illinois, elected officials across the state should ask more of themselves,” Simon said. “With families across the state cutting back in these tough economic times, I want to do my part to make state government more efficient and will continue to work to save taxpayers money.”
Simon announced her budget cuts in advance of Governor Quinn’s budget address, which is likely to include spending reductions for several state agencies. As the Governor’s point person on education reform and a member of the Budgeting for Results Commission, Simon has advocated for education funding to be protected and increases for the Monetary Award Program (MAP), which provides need-based financial aid to college students.
Beyond the cuts to her office, Simon is working use state tax dollars wisely statewide. She recently announced a community college reform package that will use existing state resources to increase college completion rates. And as chair of the Classrooms First Commission, Simon is developing recommendations that will make elementary and high school districts more efficient.