SPRINGFIELDMembers of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31 voted to give their union bargaining committee the authority to call a strike on Thursday, threatening the interruption of critical taxpayer-funded services across Illinois as the union remains at an impasse in contract negotiations with Governor Bruce Rauner. Since taking office in 2015, the Rauner Administration has successfully negotiated new contracts with the state’s 20 other unions, agreements that balance the needs of Illinois’ diverse and talented workforce with respect for taxpayers.  

State Representative Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) reacted to the vote by AFSCME members today to authorize a strike:

“The Governor has negotiated in good faith with AFSCME, the only union which has refused to compromise on terms for a new contract in the past two years. As the representative of the taxpayers at the negotiating table, the Governor has consistently offered a fair, common-sense proposal that includes merit pay, allowing volunteers to lend their time and talents to assist government agencies, and stating that overtime pay can be earned for any time worked beyond 40 hours per week. Caving in to AFSCME’s extreme demands and refusal to compromise would result in higher taxes on all working families in Illinois; an outcome we should not accept. Instead of striking and jeopardizing the services Illinois families pay for and rely upon, I encourage AFSCME members to pressure their leaders to negotiate with the Governor in good faith and agree to a fair contract as soon as possible.”
Rep. Joe Sosnowski listens to the
Governor's Budget Address
SPRINGFIELDGovernor Bruce Rauner delivered his annual Budget Address to a joint session of the General Assembly today, emphasizing the need to focus on economic growth and job creation as the way to achieve a sustainable balanced budget that, paired with long-overdue structural reforms, can set the state back on a path toward long-term prosperity and opportunity for every Illinois family. 


State Representative Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) called attention to a passage from the Governor’s speech that reflects the grim reality at the root of what has plagued Illinois in recent years: 

"For years now, families in Illinois have been voting with their feet. In just six years, we’ve seen a migration loss of more than 540,000 residents. They’re leaving for jobs, higher wages and lower costs of living.
 
If we had the right policies – if we’d made changes to fix our broken system – if we had just grown our economy at the national average, since 2000, we’d have 650,000 more jobs than we have today…" – Governor Bruce Rauner

“The Governor effectively identified what has been ailing Illinois; and a path forward we can commit to together as Democrats and Republicans to achieve a balanced budget,” Representative Sosnowski said. “Before we can come together to end the current budget impasse, we have to be honest with ourselves and with each other on the realities that have led us to this point, and the options that exist to move Illinois forward in a responsible way.”
Rep. Joe Sosnowski
ROCKFORD Illinois suffers from chronic structural inefficiencies that contribute to the destabilization of the state budget, siphoning scarce resources away from vital services meant to ensure a safety net for Illinois families. In an effort to reshape some the state’s basic priorities in a forward-thinking way, State Representative Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) has introduced common-sense solutions by crafting a good governance legislative package that improves government transparency, efficiency and accountability.

“Restoring faith in state government and opportunity and growth to our economy begins with making common-sense reforms to the shortcomings in current law that allow for waste, fraud and abuse,” said Rep. Sosnowski. “This package serves as a step towards moving Illinois forward by setting priorities to make state government more accountable and effective.”
Rep. Joe Sosnowski
SPRINGFIELD With Illinois’ unfunded pension liability reaching an estimated $129.8 billion in November 2016 according to a report by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA), State Rep. Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) has introduced a package of six new bills in the Illinois House of Representatives to make common-sense, constitutional reforms to Illinois’ pension systems. 

“Inaction is not an option,” Rep. Sosnowski said. “Public employees, current retirees and taxpayers alike deserve a pension system that is in a stable financial condition, reliable for those who depend upon it now and sustainable for those are planning for retirement in the future. I have introduced this package as an opportunity to renew good-faith negotiations on ways Democrats and Republicans can work together to achieve pension reform that is constitutional, cost-saving, and constructive.”
Rep. Joe Sosnowski
ROCKFORDState Representative Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) has been re-appointed to serve on the Legislative Audit Commission, the panel responsible for the oversight of the stewardship of public funds and monitoring action to correct weaknesses disclosed by the audits of state agencies.

The Commission’s work has taken on particular importance during the ongoing federal and state investigations of Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino into his alleged campaign spending irregularities, which continues to cast public doubt on the integrity of the Office of Auditor General.  The Legislative Audit Commission reviews all audits conducted by the Auditor General. 

The Legislative Audit Commission is comprised of 12 legislators appointed by the General Assembly leadership with an equal number of Democrats and Republicans from both the Illinois House of Representatives and the Illinois Senate. 

“Ensuring the integrity of how public funds are spent is one of the most basic responsibilities of state government,” Rep. Sosnowski said. “I am honored to accept this appointment to serve as a taxpayer watchdog on the Legislative Audit Commission.”