MACOMB — There has been much conjecture this week as the action in the Illinois Senate heats up with a vote expected on proposed legislation to produce a fully-funded budget after nearly two years of impasse.
On Wednesday, Gov. Bruce Rauner delivered his annual State of the State address. In his address, he focused on what progress was made in the past year, as well as the vision ahead clouded with uncertainty, but driven by the will to endure and prosper.
“To constituents in my district, issues like education funding, transportation improvements, economic growth and job creation are extremely important, and I look forward to working on these in the coming months,” state Sen. Jil Tracy, R-Mt. Sterling stated in a media release following Rauner’s address.
“Still, one of our greatest and most urgent priorities is the need for a balanced, full-year budget. If my colleagues and I can come together from both sides of the aisle, I’m confident that we not only can overcome this longstanding budget impasse, but also pass crucial structural reforms to begin rebuilding our economy and aid our schools, workers, veterans and most vulnerable residents.”  
State Rep. Norine Hammond, R-Macomb, told the Voice the governor’s address seemed upbeat and was focused on many of the positives over the past 1.5-2 years. A thing that stood out in his statements to her was his remarks regarding the state’s geographic and transportation makeup, an element that hasn’t changed much in over 100 years.
“We have the same attributes and the same transportation accessibility,” Hammond said.
Hammond wants to see gains, as the governor does, and said his remarks on greater responsibility to taxpayers rang true for her.
“Whatever actions we take, we have to keep in mind that we have to respect the taxpayers.”
Regarding the efforts in the Senate to generate legislation for a fully-funded budget, Hammond said she gives credit where credit is due to both the Democrat and Republican senators who are working together in a concerted effort to rectify the impasse.
“We will hopefully be able to pay off our back bills, address pension issues and fund the day-to-day operations,” she said. “But we have a long way from being done in the Senate. Once they’re able to do that; once the legislation goes over to the House, I hope the speaker allows the bills to be assigned to a committee or committees and gives a hearing so they can be brought to the floor for a vote. May there be changes made? There might be. But at the end of the day, we can’t dwell on what chamber a bill started in.”

Reach Jared DuBach by email at jdubach@McDonoughVoice.com, or follow him on Twitter@JaredDuBach.