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.