Governor Rauner said a lot during his budget address last week, but unfortunately not all of it was true. Here are the facts on five of the many misleading statements the governor made.

Rauner Claim #1: “It’s why we’ve been working for two years to pass a truly balanced budget, to create equal access to strong schools and good jobs.” ? FACT: The governor’s two previous budget proposals weren’t balanced. The budget he proposed this year is also unbalanced.

Rauner Claim # 2: “When it comes to higher education, we understand the hardship being felt by students who rely on state assistance to go to college. That’s why we’re proposing a 10 percent increase to MAP Grant funding – so those students can focus on learning, and not their next tuition bill.”

? FACT: MAP grants, college grants for needy students, aren’t receiving state funding now. Public universities are also going without state aid. The governor recommended funding higher education at the level it was a few years ago, but his administration has failed to introduce legislation to do this.
Rauner Claim # 3: “We recognize the growing danger of opioid abuse across our state.” ?

FACT: Every year, Governor Rauner’s introduced budget proposed reducing funding for addiction prevention services.

Rauner Claim #4: “We know the challenges facing human services … that is why our proposal increases support for Child Care and other programs that assist children, senior citizens, and our other most vulnerable residents.” ?

FACT: Governor Rauner has called every year for eliminating funding for afterschool programs for at-risk youth, homeless prevention services and programs that help autistic children.

Rauner Claim # 5: “Job creators and relocation firms tell us that rooting out fraud and abuse from the worker’s compensation system and getting highest-in-the-country property taxes under control are two of the most important ways to make Illinois more competitive. Very high workers’ comp insurance costs in the private sector continue to drive businesses out of state – and in the public sector, they contribute to higher property taxes.  Changes are necessary to attract employers and create new jobs.” ? FACT: The General Assembly approved workers compensation reforms in 2011 to improve our business climate by reducing employer costs while preserving workers’ rights. An article published by the Illinois State Bar Association called the new laws the “broadest reform to Illinois workers’ compensation law since 1975.” The reforms resulted in declining costs to employers.

Senator Kwame Raoul, Chicago Hospital Officials Visit Grace in HaitiCHICAGO — More than a year has passed since Haiti was devastated by a catastrophic 7.0 earthquake. State Senator Kwame Raoul recently traveled to the nation, with a Chicago-based coalition, to help resurrect one of its facilities, Grace Children’s Hospital (GCH). When rebuilt, the hospital will provide needed care and services to the children of Haiti.

For Senator Raoul, helping improve life for Haitians in the wake of this natural disaster is a personal commitment. Raoul was born in Chicago to Haitian-born immigrants. His father practiced medicine, made house calls to the underserved and underprivileged across Chicago, and was a board member of International Health Care. The state senator, whose legislative district is located in Chicago, still has family in Haiti.

Read more: Senator Kwame Raoul, Chicago Hospital Officials Visit Grace

Illinois Senate approves workers compensation reform SPRINGFIELD — Illinois businesses, still stung by a steep increase in the state income tax, got a gift of up to $700 million from the Illinois Senate on Saturday. In a 46-8 vote, with two members voting present, the Senate approved and sent to the House legislation that would impose cost reductions on the state’s expensive and scandal-tainted workers compensation system.

“This is major reform, and it’s nonsense to refer to it as anything but,” said Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), the bill’s chief Senate sponsor.

Springfield’s ruling Democrats made the pro-business vote a top priority of the spring legislative session after orchestrating a 46 percent increase in the corporate income tax rate in January.

“This reform package is the single most important thing we can do to improve our business climate and ensure our economic recovery continues,” Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) said in a prepared statement.

Read more: Illinois Senate approves workers compensation reform

Bears pleased with passing of concussion legislationLAKE FOREST, Ill. – The Bears on Tuesday commended the Illinois General Assembly on its timely passage of House Bill 200, youth concussion legislation co-authored by House Minority Leader Tom Cross (Oswego) and State Senator Kwame Raoul (Chicago).

The bipartisan legislation unanimously passed both chambers and marks the first comprehensive state law seeking to address the growing concerns over concussion injuries and their prevention in youth sports.

“We congratulate Leader Cross and Senator Raoul for their efforts and tireless work in successfully bringing this important issue to the forefront,” said Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips. “The Bears commend the General Assembly for recognizing the steps that must be taken to further protect Illinois children and young student-athletes from preventable concussions and other brain injuries.”

Read more: Bears pleased with passing of concussion legislation

Jean Baptiste Point Du SableThe neighborhoods that gave the nation its first black president are supplying another set of Democratic political leaders whose growing influence can be felt from City Hall to the County Building to the state Capitol.The new crew continues the liberal tradition of Hyde Park and Kenwood, but these politicians also break with the past by putting pragmatism ahead of progressivism to wield power.

Toni Preckwinkle traded up last fall from veteran 4th Ward alderman to Cook County Board president. Will Burns, who'll take her City Council seat, is making a big jump after one term in the Illinois House. And Kwame Raoul, who succeeded then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama in the state Senate, is a rising star inSpringfield at the center of major issues including a death penalty ban and pension reform.

Read more: Hyde Park-Kenwood area fosters another set of Democratic leaders