In January: An evening with COD President Dr. Ann Rondeau
Dr. Rondeau will join the League for a meeting in January, time and date, TBD. Watch your email and the League's Facebook page for more information as it becomes available.
New Voter - Just Released
Download your copy of the Autumn Voter
State Budget Video
'TIS THE SEASON TO GATHER WITH FRIENDS AND CELEBRATE !
New Amendment Proposed
ILLINOIS HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT [HJRCA] 36
"Safe Roads Amendment" a/k/a/ "Transportation Spending Lockbox Amendment"
The proposed amendment provides that revenue raised for transportation-related purposes must be used as intended – it cannot be “swept” to address another cause.
HISTORY: In 2015, more than $500 million--~25% of the "road" funds collected--were diverted. Those funds come from highway tolls, vehicle registration and license fees, and motor fuel taxes (19₵/gal. for gasoline; 21.5₵ /gal. for diesel).
Transportation Lockbox Constitutional Amendment: Ends Justify Means?
Illinois voters are being asked whether spending on transportation programs, enforcement, & infrastructure should be protected under the Illinois Constitution. Protecting transportation funds for their intended purpose is important, but doing so through a Constitutional Amendment would be bad government. The Constitution should provide a general framework, not give preferential treatment to one essential need. Rather than protecting only transportation, the Constitution should protect funding for all essential State obligations--education, health care, public safety. The reason behind this proposed amendment is lack of adequate revenues to pay for State programs. The Governor and General Assembly are responsible for raising sufficient revenue to meet our State needs, preparing a budget, and appropriating revenue accordingly. Both branches of government have failed in their jobs, so the legislature chose to kick the revenue and appropriation issues to the voters when it comes to transportation spending. Other aspects of the amendment are also troubling. Transportation funds could never be used in the case of a State emergency and this amendment takes the authority for appropriations and allocation of funds out of the hands of our elected public officials. Rigid constitutional language has had unintended negative consequences in the past for our state. The state legislature’s current practice of diverting transportation funds into the General Revenue Fund should stop. Voters must now decide whether prioritizing transportation needs at the expense of all other competing needs warrants a constitutional amendment. And, whether locking these funds up, even in the case of a State emergency, is really in the best interests of Illinois residents.
Mary Kubasak, President League of Women Voters of Illinois October 20, 2016
ARGUMENTS OPPOSING THE AMENDMENT:
The proposed amendment is bad public policy because it gives favored status to one area of state government. If the Constitution were to be amended, it should state that all funds intended for ANY specific cause must be used for that cause.
Prioritizing transportation in the constitution may mean that less money can be used to pay for other state government obligations – including K-12 education, social services, higher education, & health care
Since the state does not have enough money to pay its bills, it is possible that road funds will be short-changed in other ways. This happened when State Lottery funds (intended to increase education funding) simply replaced money lost when other school funds were shifted.
Instead, the Governor and the General Assembly should raise adequate and sufficient revenues to pay for our government and they should budget and appropriate those revenues.
The State of Illinois began this fiscal year with a deficit of $9.1 billion.
At the end of Fiscal Year 2017 the deficit will be either $14.5 billion (Governor's estimate) or $16.9 billion (General Assembly's estimate). (See Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, September 30, 2016 blog at ).
The Governor and General Assembly have failed to fulfill their constitutional responsibilities:
The Governor has not prepared and submitted a detailed budget to the General Assembly.
The General Assembly shall then appropriate for all expenditures of public funds.
The Governor and General Assembly have also failed to tax to obtain the revenues necessary to pay for the government that we have.
If you haven't sent in your dues, it's time to do so. Here is information about membership. If you are renewing and forgot where your renewal envelope is, or didn't receive it in the mail, OK to send to the address listed on the join page. Note that dues are now set at $75 per year. Most of this money, with the exception of a few dollars, is passed on to the LWVIL and the LWVUS to maintain the LWVGE membership.
There is no shortage of things to do, ways to learn, and opportunities to make a difference. Help us by becoming a member.
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League's Non Partisan Policy
Each year the League reviews its non-partisan policy which states that League does not endorse or support and political party or candidate.
Housing in Glen EllynIn concert with our position on housing in Glen Ellyn, the League of Women Voters of Glen Ellyn has submitted a letter to our local elected officials regarding our concerns with housing stock in our community.
In addition, recently a Letter to the Editor has been submitted to the Daily Herald and other local newspapers.