SPRINGFIELD – Following the Governor’s budget address, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon recognized state agencies that voluntarily made cuts to help balance the fiscal year 2013 budget and encouraged state residents to participate in public hearings that will be held on proposed facility closures.
“A responsible budget must be based on real revenue. With pension and Medicaid costs eating up more of our tax dollars, we must reduce spending. As Lt. Governor, I worked hard to cut 9 percent of our budget, and applaud the other agencies who scoured their operations to do the same. As a Southern Illinois resident, I am disappointed that the state is proposing facility closures in areas that already suffer from high unemployment. I encourage the people whose livelihoods will be affected to join me in the budget process and speak up as we review the economic impact of such closures.”
Simon’s fiscal year 2013 appropriation request is more than 9 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 at least 16 years and will net taxpayers a savings of nearly $200,000. In FY12, 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 in FY12, as well.
As the Governor’s point person on education reform and a member of the Budgeting for Results Commission, Simon recently announced a community college reform package that will use existing state resources to increase college completion rates. As chair of the Classrooms First Commission, Simon is developing recommendations that will make elementary and high school districts more efficient.