Mired in a budget morass
Illinois has been without a budget since July 1, which marked the beginning of the 2016 fiscal year. It’s been eight months with no budget, and many Illinoisans fear there is no resolution in sight. Considering the disruption of social services, imminent layoffs at public universities, and past due bills piling up for the State, the stakes are high.
Last year, the governor’s budget address focused on the need for Illinois to become a booming economy again, and the desire to attract more businesses and people to move to Illinois. The development of a business sector friendly environment would serve Illinois citizens by creating a path to economic growth, empowerment, and increased employment opportunities.
There were similar themes in the Governor’s 2016 State of the State address on January 27, and yet, little has been accomplished in the last year to move the state forward.
Illinois clean jobs bill
One sensible way Governor Rauner could help pump much needed investment into the economy and curb pollution is by supporting the bipartisan Illinois Clean Jobs Bill. This legislation would fix and increase the renewable energy and energy efficiency policies in the state. Members of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition include over 160 businesses that seek to ensure continued growth and investment in clean energy.
The Union of Concerned Scientists released an analysis last spring, Achieving Illinois’s Clean Energy Potential, which found that fixing and strengthening Illinois’ RPS to achieve 35 percent of renewable energy by 2030, and a 20 percent reduction in energy demand by 2025, would drive $23 billion in clean energy investments in Illinois by 2030; reduce the typical residential consumer electricity bill by $10 per month in 2020, and $22 per month in in 2030; and inject more than $200 million annually into Illinois’s economy.