State Representative John Cavaletto, a member of the Elementary & Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies Committee is co-sponsoring legislation that will fund the MAP grant program for students at the full Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 level, fund community colleges at 90% of FY15 level and fund state university operations at 80% FY15 level.

“Our community colleges are dealing with financial pressures because of the delay in state funding and students are counting on the MAP grants to better their lives with a college education,” commented Rep. Cavaletto. “This legislation is a realistic proposal that gives the governor the tools and real funding to provide needed help to students and colleges and I hope Speaker Madigan and our Democrat colleagues will join us in passing this immediately,” Cavaletto added.

The total spending package is approximately $1.68 billion that would come from general funds. It is contingent on the passage of the recently filed “Unbalanced Budget Response Act” that would permit the governor to manage monies in existing funds to adequately fund programs including higher education.
Springfield…State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem), a member of the Elementary & Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies Committee, responded to Governor Bruce Rauner’s second budget address since taking office in 2015.

“Today the governor reiterated that education is a top priority by proposing record funding for our children’s schools as well as early childhood education. I think we should send him a clean funding bill that meets these priorities,” Rep. Cavaletto said. “For the other state spending, the governor offered two alternatives to finally balance our state budget: one that includes reforms to lower spending and another that will rely heavily on spending cuts. Either way, the governor has demonstrated his willingness to work in a bi-partisan manor for the good of our state. Something needs to be done quickly because our families and seniors cannot wait any longer,” he added.

The K-12 general state aid proposed would be $55 million higher than Fiscal Year 2016. This funding level would fund the full $6,119 foundation level for the first time in seven years. The Early Childhood Education program would receive an increase of $75 million, bringing it to its highest funding level ever at $393 million.

Other items in the governor’s proposed FY17 budget include selling unneeded assets like the Thompson Center office building in Chicago, procurement reforms to save $500 million over several years, no salary increase or cost of living adjustments, and there is a 10% reduction in the budgets for Constitutional Officers and the General Assembly.
Click HERE to give your opinion.
Thank you, for your input!

U.S. President Barak Obama joins a small group of sitting presidents (Taft, Hoover & Carter) when he addresses the Illinois General Assembly today at 1:30 p.m. (live coverage begins at 1:10 p.m.).  You can watch the President's address by clicking here.
State Representative John Cavaletto, (R-Salem) hosted a meeting Tuesday evening in Vandalia to hear about the issues and concerns of local farmers about the access and use of their land by companies who explore, drill and extract oil and gas from under their farmland.

Rep. Cavaletto was joined by Brad Carlson, with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Office of Legislation, Mike Mankowski, Director of Oil & Gas for IDNR, and Randy Pollard from Governor Bruce Rauner’s office to discuss the issues farmers have been dealing with concerning the mineral leases that allow companies to drill for and extract natural resources on their farm land.

“I am happy to be able to bring together local farmers and the new leadership at the Department of Natural Resources to work through finding a solution between the people who grow our food and those who harvest our natural resources,” said Rep. Cavaletto. “There is a way for both farmers and energy companies to co-exist using the same land. It’s being done all over Illinois and we can make sure it happens here in the 107th District as well,” Cavaletto added.

The group of landowners is talking about forming a coalition that will meet quarterly. They want to join together to document their concerns for DNR which include: access to their land, cleaning up oil spills and/or saltwater contaminated land, taking care of uncapped wells, removing abandoned pump jacks, and repairing leaking tanks.

Many of the oil & gas leases for these properties date back to the 1940’s when the oil boom hit the south central area of Illinois. The leases for the right to drill and extract oil and gas have changed hands over the years and research needs to be conducted to clarify who owns the leases and who is responsible for clean-up.

“These issues date back many years and we appreciate Rep. Cavaletto bringing us together to help move this process forward to ensure that DNR regulations are followed and landowners’ concerns are addressed. Anyone with questions may contact either our Springfield Oil & Gas Office at 217-782-7756 or Centralia Oil & Gas Office at 618-533-8979,” said IDNR Director Wayne Rosenthal.
Photo of Speaker Madigan (Anthony Souffle / Chicago Tribune)
 House Speaker Michael Madigan and his defenders often bristle at the suggestion that he is responsible for the condition of Illinois. They dispute the notion that Madigan is the superpower of state government. Please read the full editorial column by Chicago Tribune reporter Kristen McQueary here.

State Representative John Cavaletto spoke to the Rotarians of the Salem Rotary Club this week. He gave an update on the status of the state budget and the challenges to pass a balanced budget.

The USO of Illinois, which serves military and military families in the state, is celebrating its 75th Anniversary with multiple events throughout the year, beginning with a week long USO Week. Learn more about this week's activities from the WAND 17 TV report here.