State Budget Finishes With Mixed Reviews

Forty five point eight billion dollars is the final number on the Illinois state budget passed last week. And now that the plan for 2007 is solidified, some elected officials are taking credit, while others say not so fast.

This is certainly the case with the recent passing of the state budget. Between the Preschool for All Program and an initiative to help middle class families pay for college, education was a central focus in this year’s budget.

The differences in opinion come when you ask whether or not the state can afford these big bill items, and it’s no coincidence that views differ across party lines.

Gov. Blagojevich (D) said, "This is part of an effort to turn our state around, continue to change our priorities and make sure they reflect the things we really care about. Nothing is more important to us than our children."

Senator Syverson (R) said, “The concern is when you have a lot of new programs being funded at a time when we can’t fully fund our existing programs, that creates even further instability.”

Despite differing opinions, there is one local benefit of the new budget that just about everyone will agree is positive. The Rockford school district will be receiving a nice chunk of change, taking some of the burden off homeowners.

Though the budget was completed behind schedule, legislators fell less than three weeks short of being forced into overtime session.