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Rep. Halbrook (center standing) at the signing
of HB 643 by Gov. Rauner at the State Capitol.
Today, Governor Rauner signed House Bill 643, which was co-sponsored by State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) and recieved bipartisan support in both chambers. The bill eliminates a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for fiscal year 2018. The bill also puts a cap on per diems received by legislators during session.

Rep. Halbrook said that passing HB 643 was the fiscally responsible thing to do for Illinois as a whole which is evident by the overwhelming bipartisan support it received.

“It has been clear to everyone involved that signing House Bill 643 into law was the right thing to do,” Halbrook said. “Illinois’ finances are not in order and to think we as legislators should give ourselves a pay raise is offensive to taxpayers. I applaud the Governor for signing HB 643 and both sides of the aisle for showing tax payers the respect they deserve.”

Along with eliminating the cost of living adjustments for FY18, the bill sets legislative per diem rates at $111 per session and mileage reimbursement at $0.39 dollars per mile, which are the same rates that have been used since 2012.

Watch the WAND Channel 17 (NBC) video of the signing here.
Today, State Representative Brad Halbrook (R- Shelbyville), a member of the Government Consolidation & Modernization Committee, joined Governor Bruce Rauner and other members of the House and Senate at Mt. Zion Junior High to talk about modernizing the school aid formula in Illinois through proposed legislation (Senate Bill 1).

“Today is about properly funding our schools…all 852 Illinois districts not just one,” declared Rep. Halbrook. “We have a chance to make sure that all districts receive equitable and adequate funding and that’s why I stand for all the students in Illinois, and particularly central & east central Illinois.”

“Schools in our area suffer under Senate Bill (SB) 1 as it is written because it sends more dollars to a mismanaged Chicago Public School (CPS) pension system. With the Governor’s amendatory veto the 102nd district will see this additional $2 million. Please stand with me to fix SB 1 so students in each school district can thrive. This will make sure school opens on time and that students get the education they need and deserve.”

Rep. Halbrook and his colleagues in the House and Senate are joining with the governor in calling on Democrats to stop holding education funding hostage and release the bill. This is a chance to make sure that all districts in Illinois receive equitable and adequate funding and to help low income students across the state, including those in Chicago, access the quality education they deserve.

You may watch the press conference by clicking here.

The Illinois State Police Merit Board is currently processing applications
for Cadet Class 127, tentatively scheduled for February 4, 2018. In order
to be considered for Cadet Class 127, the Merit Board must receive your
completed application and required documentation by July 15, 2017.

Education Requirement Update
Effective July 1, 2017, Any person who has been honorably discharged who
served in a combat mission by proof of hostile fire pay or imminent danger
pay during deployment on active duty, or has served 3 years of full
active and continuous military duty and received an honorable discharge,
meets the collegiate educational requirement of the Department of State
Today, the Illinois House of Representatives considered overriding the vetoes by the governor on a budget and a tax hike that would increase personal income taxes 32% and corporate income taxes from 5.25 percent to 7 percent. State Representative Brad Halbrook (R- Shelbyville), a member of the Government Transparency Committee, continued to oppose these increases by voting no on the override motions.

“This is a massive, permanent tax hike that will push more taxpayers out of state and more businesses out of business,” said Rep. Halbrook. “There is not enough spending reductions in this plan…no property tax relief, no regulatory reform to grow jobs and no term limits…I had to support the Governor’s veto of this bad plan,” Halbrook added.

We need reform because we have the worst job growth of any state in the country. Since 2000, we have grown virtually no jobs. If our economy had just grown at the national average the last 17 years, we would have enough money to balance our budgets. People are leaving the state every day and are going to places with jobs and growth like Indiana and Texas. There is no reason we shouldn’t be creating jobs here in Illinois.

State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) released the following statement on the passage of Senate Bills 6 and 9.

“Just hours before session today, Speaker Madigan and the House Democrats filed an appropriations and revenue plan for the fiscal year of 2018. This was not a compromise plan. The budget that passed the house does not reform workers’ compensation, or address our billion dollar pension debt, and it certainly does not provide any relief for property owners.

“In reality, all the budget does is raise taxes on citizens across the board without addressing any of the real issues facing the state. Today, Speaker Madigan got exactly what he wanted, a budget that raises taxes and maintains the status quo that has failed the state for 15 years. The budget that passed today is a bad deal for families, it is a bad deal for businesses, and it is a bad deal for the future of Illinois.”
For years the General Assembly has been working on a fix to our state's broken school funding formula. Over time, we have found a better approach known as the "evidence-based model."

This spring we made significant progress on a bipartisan school funding bill through good faith negotiations. Though we were very close on a bipartisan compromise, my colleagues across the aisle chose to walk away from the negotiating table in late May and pass a partisan school funding bill, Senate Bill 1. I could not support this proposal, which once again singled out one school district, Chicago Public School District 299, to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in special deals. In fact, under Senate Bill 1 seven out of every ten new dollars dedicated to school funding would be directed to Chicago.

Additionally, Senate Bill 1 was not adequately funded in the budget passed by Senate Democrats in late May, and without the necessary funding would once again lead to the proration that plagued Illinois schools for years. In fact, the Democrats have not advanced a budget bill that provides the appropriate funding level required to satisfy the simulation they are promoting with Senate Bill 1.

For these reasons, the Governor has promised to veto the plan, and legislators from across the state have made it clear that they will not vote to override a veto of Senate Bill 1. This means the fate of Senate Bill 1 is clear.

However, there is an alternative that reflects a compromise worthy of bipartisan support. One in which all school districts would benefit under the more equitable formula advanced under House Bill 4069. In the spirit of compromise, the proposal adopts the overwhelming majority of Senate Bill 1. In fact, there are far more similarities between the two bills than there are differences.

Both bills utilize the same evidence-based model, as well as the same methods to deliver funding to low-income students, along with identical systems to determine cost differences between districts. In addition, both measures group districts into the same four tiers based on need and use the same local resource calculations. Further, both proposals feature the same safeguards for English learners and special education funds.

In May the sponsor of Senate Bill 1 stated that the two proposals were 95 percent the same. Now, according to the sponsor of House Bill 4069, they are nearly identical, with a few important differences.

House Bill 4069 recognizes that Chicago needs help, and it provides the school district with assistance, based on evidence-based practices and the demographics of their students. What it doesn’t offer are special deals hidden in the formula that are designed to fix the Chicago Public Schools’ broken pension system and pay off their overwhelming debt from years of fiscal mismanagement. Instead, House Bill 4069 relies on the data, and the data alone, to drive resources to the schools that need it most, including Chicago.

House Bill 4069 is good for the 20 districts in our area and for all of our state’s 852 different school districts. Unlike Senate Bill 1, the legislation does not single out one district to pit students from different regions against each other. Instead, all schools are all treated the same under a formula that is the same for everyone regardless of their zip code. In fact, recently released data from the Illinois State Board of Education shows that House Bill 4069 in its current form is unquestionably more equitable for all low-income students in Illinois.
State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) opposed the last minute political games played with the school funding formula bill that would bail out Chicago schools by $500 million. Senate Bill 1 had been a bi-partisan effort to bring fairness to the funding formula and bringing relief to property tax payers, but at the last minute was amended to help Chicago Schools more at the expense of Central and southern Illinois schools. It narrowly passed with 60 yes votes and heads to the governor where it is anticipated he will veto the bill.

“It is amazing how blatant the games are to benefit one school district over the rest of our schools and students,” declared Rep. Brad Halbrook. “There was a good faith, bi-partisan effort to bring fairness to the school funding formula and bring relief to taxpayers, but that was lost at the last minutes of the regularly scheduled session. I could not in good conscience vote for SB 1 in its final form that short-changed our students here in central Illinois,” Halbrook added.

The legislature has debated the issue of school funding reform for a number of years, including this past legislative session. Many believe that we need a more equitable school funding formula in Illinois that lessens our reliance on local property taxes while providing that the State make education a higher priority. Right now, Illinois only provides 24% of total education spending.

In addition, Illinois has not had a full budget in two years. This school funding reform proposal requires $350 million in new money even though the State cannot afford to pay schools for current year programs. SB 1 would allocate the monies at a 70% - 30% ratio with 70% for Chicago that has only 23% of the students.

“I will continue to support a new formula to provide an equitable and adequate education for all two million students in Illinois public schools, and not just a select few,” concluded Halbrook. “I believe we can help schools and help taxpayers at the same time if we show the political will to do the right thing.”