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Today, State Representative Joe Sosnowski visited Hallstrom Home School and discussed several issues with its students. Sosnowski fielded questions about higher education funding, MAP Grants and the budget impasse. Students also participated in a legislative simulation which demonstrated how everyone must engage in a conversation and work together to pass a law.

“I was very impressed by the students,” Sosnowski said. He added, “Thank you Hallstrom Home School students for giving me an opportunity to address your questions about state government.”

If other schools or teachers are interested in having Representative Sosnowski address their students’ questions about state government, please contact his district office at (815) 547-3436 to arrange a Capitol Classroom.
By: Joe Sosnowski, State Representative 69th District

As the chorus grows of those justifiably calling for an end to the budget impasse, I wanted to not only take a moment to restate the many solutions my colleagues and I have attempted to advance in an effort to bring about a resolution to this dire situation, but also reiterate my commitment to a reasonable, rational and responsible solution to our budget crisis. The heated rhetoric from nearly every corner of state government has overshadowed the true heart of the conflict: the fact that taxpayers cannot be expected to pay any more for state government before there is a guarantee that their tax dollars aren’t wasted.

That’s the issue. Reform before revenue.
Leaders Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) and Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) introduced their proposal to provide funding for Departments of Aging, Human Services, Public Health, Veterans Affairs and more.

The plan, HB 6553, appropriates $433M from the General Revenue Fund and $858M from Other State Funds to support critical services offered by the State of Illinois. A significant portion of the $1.3B combined total can be achieved by enacting common-sense changes to state pension systems, reforms that are not subject to court challenge and yield savings that can be banked immediately.

For instance, there are currently 400 school district employees who are paid an average of $225,000 annually. As of now, the State of Illinois pays all of the pension costs for these individuals. Instead of this being paid by Illinois taxpayers, Governor Rauner suggests that the State require an employer to pick up the pension costs for anyone earning a salary over $180,000 per year.

Reforming Illinois’ pension systems could save an enormous sum of money. If Governor Rauner’s pension changes were implemented immediately, experts estimate they would save hundreds of millions of dollars for Fiscal Year 2017. “It’s time the government took a look in the mirror and realized that there are things that can be done better," said Representative Sosnowski (R-Rockford).

HB 6553 would provide funding for the Department of Aging, Department of Human Services, Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Department of Public Health, Department of Revenue, Department of Veterans Affairs, supplemental veterans homes, Illinois EPA, Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority and Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

“The most vulnerable citizens of this state rely on services from these departments” said Representative Sosnowski. He concluded, “This bill provides a dependable source of funding for them.”

Belvidere – On Saturday, April 2, 2016 Representative Joe Sosnowski co-hosted a US Citizen Workshop with Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and The New Americans Campaign.  The workshop provided eligible immigrants with citizenship application assistance, legal screening and test preparation services.
On Monday, March 28, 2016, Enbridge Energy Company, Inc. awarded grant monies through their Safe Community and Community Investments programs to Capron Rescue Squad District ($1,000.00), Belvidere Police Department ($1,000.00) and Belvidere Fire Department ($1,900.00). Sincerest appreciation and gratitude to Enbridge for its community partnership and commitment to helping first responders. It is important to build strong connections with private partners to make a difference in the communities we serve.

Rep. Sosnowski Encourages Public Attendance 

Belvidere – Residents in Boone County are gravely concerned about a Great Lakes Basin, Inc. railroad project. Public scoping hearings were scheduled by the Surface Transportation Board (STB); however, upon review of the meeting locations there was nothing scheduled in Boone County. 

State Representative Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) requested that a hearing be held in Boone County as a majority of the development is proposed to be constructed in the district he represents.

“It is common sense to host a public scoping meeting for residents rather than making them travel far distances. At my request, the Surface Transportation Board agreed to host a meeting in Belvidere. Open Communication and transparency are vitally important. I encourage concerned citizens and agencies to take advantage of this opportunity and provide constructive comments on the Great Lakes Basin, Inc. proposal.”

The public meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 19, 2016 from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm at the Community Building Complex of Boone County, 111 W. 1st Street, Belvidere, IL 61008. This meeting is open to the public. The purpose of the meeting is for residents, local agencies, environmental groups and potentially affected parties to submit comments for the Surface Transportation Board to consider for the Environmental Impact Statement.

For more information please visit, or contact State Rep. Joe Sosnowski at (815) 547-3436 or by email at

The idea that Governor Rauner and Republican legislators have refused to compromise is laughable. The same exhausted talking point that Governor Rauner is holding the budget hostage with his “radical” reform agenda that has nothing to do with a budget is simply political fodder to shift attention away from an entrenched decade’s old Chicago run regime.

There are three branches of government in a Democracy. The Executive Branch (Governor), Legislative Branch (Representatives and Senators) and Judicial Branch (Judges).   The reason there are three separate branches is to prohibit any one branch of government from having too much power over another. Each has a separate job to do, but ultimately needs agreed upon approval to effect law.