Sen. Holmes and Rep. Kifowit attend legislative breakfastAurora Beacon News - Feb. 24, 2015

By Linda Girardi

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner recently said that like a family, everyone must come together to address the reality of the state's financial crisis.

But the mayors and village presidents that represent some 750,000 residents in Kane, Kendall and DeKalb counties aren't feeling the love.

"For years Springfield has pick-pocketed municipalities. Now the governor has advocated armed robbery," Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns said Tuesday.

Representatives of the Metro West Council of Government municipal alliance Tuesday balked at the governor's proposal to slash in half the local governments' share of state income tax revenue.

Rauner made the announcement during his first budget address to the Illinois General Assembly last week, as part of a budget plan to "restore Illinois to fiscal health," he said.

The suburban leaders met at the annual Metro West Legislative Breakfast at the Gaslite Manor in Aurora to send a unified message back to Springfield that the governor's proposal is not acceptable.

The suburban mayors and village presidents in their response said they have made their fair share of sacrifices as municipalities and now it is time for the state of Illinois to do its fair share.

Nine state senators and representatives from the area attended the nearly three-hour session. Burns said the governor's policy-makers neglected to seek input from local municipalities.

State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, said while the governor is new in the political process the proposed cuts are "real life issues" and not a "training exercise."

She said regardless of what is proposed in the budget, it will take 60 votes in the House and 30 votes in the Senate to pass measures.

Many of the leaders present said that Rauner needs to understand the concerns raised at the Aurora meeting.

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Illinois Public Radio - Feb. 4, 2015

Rauner acknowledged up front that voters elected him - a Republican - and supermajority of Democrats in the legislature.

"They don’t want partisan bickering, political infightin', or personal conflict to get in the way of servin' the needs of the families of Illinois," Rauner said.

Rauner spoke of inequities in granting contracts to minority-owned companies, and prison conditions that he called “unacceptable.”

Many Democrats say they support those initiatives. But they are already bristling at Rauner’s insistence that labor unions are to blame for the state’s financial problems.

Last week, health and human service agencies began to run out of grant funding leftover from the previous administration.

Rauner says he wants local governments to create so-called Right to Work laws - similar to those that caused major protests in Wisconsin and Indiana.

Democrats like west suburban State Senator Linda Holmes say unions are the organizations that helped create the middle class - and attacking them won’t fix the state’s financial problems.

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AURORA – State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) released the following statement following a trial court ruling that found Senate Bill 1 unconstitutional:

“I was a staunch and outspoken opponent of Senate Bill 1 feeling it was fundamentally flawed and blatantly unconstitutional. Today, the courts have ruled that Senate Bill 1 is indeed unconstitutional. As we respond to this finding, I will continue to stand up for our hardworking teachers and the public employees who have worked their entire lives serving the people of Illinois.”

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FirefightersRSPRINGFIELD - State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) spoke out in support of a measure that protects firefighters and has the potential to save taxpayer dollars.

“Despite false information circulating about this measure, Aurora already does this,” Holmes said.  “This legislation alters nothing, except for the potential to save taxpayer money. Cities that have hired an arbitrator have never experienced a manning increase for fire departments. In fact, by hiring an arbitrator, we can avoid costly litigation and ensure fire departments and municipalities can come to an agreement. ”

Before 2011, arbitrators had to hear the concerns of firefighters regarding the number of men assigned to a shift.

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