According to the Office of Management and Budget, the state of Illinois’s fiscal year 2018 budget is out of balance by $1.7 billion. State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond), who voted against the out-of-balance budget believes that the imbalance could have been avoided through tough financial decision making, structural reforms, and a true, fair budget-making process.
 
“Clearly, the path that we continue to follow- passing unbalanced budgets, is not working for the state of Illinois. We will never dig ourselves out of this fiscal mess if we continue the culture of overspending without any meaningful reforms,” said Representative Bourne. “I am also opposed to the permanent income tax increase that this budget relied upon. It will not solve our long-term problems and is not the way to grow our economy.”
 
The Illinois Economic and Fiscal Policy Report presents a five-year economic outlook based on the budget along with state and national growth forecasts. The GOMB compiles the report, which is available for public view at https://www.illinois.gov/gov/budget/Pages/PolicyReports.aspx.

In the report, GOMB Director Scott Harry asserts that with stronger economic growth accompanied by spending controls, Illinois could achieve budget surpluses and reduce its bill backlog to an estimated $500 million by the end of fiscal year 2023.

Enacting the republican 2018 budget proposals, according to Harry, would have saved the state enough to balance this year’s budget. The plan proposed savings through reforms in government group health insurance programs ($600 million); Medicaid ($525 million); and issuing revenue rather than general obligation bonds to pay down the state’s bill backlog ($60 million in interest this year, and $390 million over the 12-year life of the bond).

“Balancing the budget and enacting reforms would let us grow the economy, control spending, pay down our debt, and invest in jobs,” Harry said. “It is time for the political leaders of our state to come together to build long-term fiscal stability so we can expand our economy,” he added. “The only way to resolve our fiscal issues is to grow the economy faster than our spending.”



On Thursday, the Illinois House voted on a piece of legislation labeled by many as a gun control measure. House Bill 4117, would have, among other provisions, outlawed all trigger modification devices intended to accelerate a firearm’s rate of fire. State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) voted against the bill, which failed to pass in the House. 

“This bill was another example of a knee-jerk response to a complex issue. We will not curb gun violence by further regulating and criminalizing those who responsibly and legally own and use firearms. House Bill 4117 would have made felons out of 40 to 50 percent of our law-abiding gun owners," Bourne said. She added, “The bill was both an infringement on our Second Amendment rights and a disservice to those concerned with the proliferation of violence and illegal gun activity in our society.”

Proponents of the bill acknowledged that the legislation was drafted in response to the events that took place in Las Vegas.

The bill needed 2/3rds majority (or 71 votes) in order to pass and failed 48-54. Not dissuaded by this setback, Illinois Democrats have filed another so-called assault weapons ban and have advanced a restrictive and duplicative gun dealer licensing bill to the House floor for a final vote in the near future.
State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) announced on Thursday that she signed on as a co-sponsor of HB 4114. This bill, by prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortion, seeks to reverse key provisions of the recently enacted House Bill 40. House Bill 40 was recently signed into law in Illinois, legalizing taxpayer funded abortions at any stage of pregnancy for any reason. 

"I am pushing for the House to consider this bill and vote on it during the upcoming fall veto session before HB40 becomes effective at the start of 2018," Bourne said. "The majority of Illinoisans are strongly opposed to their taxpayer dollars funding abortion. This new bill, HB 4114 will end that unconscionable use of tax dollars."

Bourne says the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" is based on the model of the federal Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funding for abortions other than in cases of rape or incest, or that threaten the life of the mother. Abortions under these circumstances constitute roughly 1% of all abortions. Federal law already requires states to provide Medicaid abortions under these three conditions, and the proposed Act recognizes those federal provisions.

Additionally, while the federal government typically matches a state’s Medicaid expenses, it will not do so for elective abortions. Based on the estimated direct cost to the state of $30 million for abortions, the true impact to the Medicaid system is actually double that, $60 million in lost medical services.
House Leader Jim Durkin announced that he is appointing Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) and Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton) to fill seats in a recently established task force that seeks to increase the use of Illinois coal. A new law, sponsored by Bourne, created the task force to study the costs and benefits of using the latest scrubber technology to allow Illinois coal mined in our home state to be burned here as well.

“Coal is one of Illinois’ most abundant resources. We should be able to utilize that resource here,” said Representative Bourne. “Through this taskforce we are working to take a different approach that promotes clean coal and good-paying jobs.”

The vast majority of Illinois coal is being sold and burned out of state because of the sulfur content, which burns off at a higher rate than federal and state air quality standards allow. A way to prevent, or reduce, sulfur escaping into the air when the coal is being burned is to install costly “scrubbers” that help remove sulfur before leaving the stack.
 
This newly formed bipartisan task force’s members’ primary responsibility is to study the costs and benefits of the construction of new stacks or conversion of existing stacks at coal-fired power plants with flue gas desulfurization scrubber technology. The task force’s work begins immediately and they will be reporting their findings and recommendations to the General Assembly.