The General Assembly failed to pass a budget during regular session this year. That disappointment was felt by Illinoisans across the state especially those who rely on the necessary social services that our state is currently neglecting. In my opinion, there is no other word to better describe this ridiculous situation other than unacceptable. It truly is unacceptable. This inaction prolongs suffering and does nothing to address the very real problems that our state currently faces.Many of you who read my column know where I stand on the budget debate and you know that I believe that the budget is not the sole issue that necessitates action. There are some serious systemic issues that need to be addressed so that we can prevent this mess from ever happening again. We need to end our penchant for spend-happy legislation, and we need to focus on paying the states unpaid bills before we go off thinking of more good ideas.This week, Governor Rauner has called for a special session with the stated goal of resolving the budget issue once and for all. I wholeheartedly support the governors decision and look forward to hopefully addressing the most pressing issue our state currently faces. Over the next two weeks I will continue to update you on the progress or lack thereof in Springfield. Please rest assured that I stand with the overwhelming majority of the district who have called, e-mailed and written to me. The message that many of you have sent is clear stand strong on a balanced budget. I will continue to do exactly that.And while Springfield is full of uncertainty, we have a lot going on here in Northwest Illinois. This month, I will be hosting three programs that I would like to bring to your attention:On June 27th at 5:30 P.M., we will be hosting a Stephenson County Property Tax Seminar at the Freeport Library. During that time, Stephenson County Chief Assessment Officer Ron Kane will give a presentation entitled Understanding the Assessment Process, and there will be a question and answer session after the presentation. The event is open to the public, but we recommend that you RSVP at www.repbrianstewart.com because there is limited space. In the near future, I would like to offer these seminars in the other counties throughout the district, but anyone is welcome to attend the Stephenson County property tax assessment seminar.On June 30th, we are hosting a blood drive in downtown Freeport. All of the donated blood that will be collected at the event will go to local hospitals in northern Illinois including Freeport Health Network. To find more information on the event and to register, please go to www.rrvbc.org and click donor login.Lastly, for school kids throughout the district we are offering a summer reading program. If you have a first through fifth grader who wants to become a Readasaurus this summer, please also go to www.repbrianstewart.com or contact your local library for a pamphlet. Students who complete the program will be given an official state certificate and will be invited to an ice cream party at Union Dairy on August 12th at 1:00 P.M.Its going to be a busy summer, but hopefully we will have a balanced budget before the end of the June. Until then, please consider taking part in one of the programs we will be offering. And dont forget to encourage our young people to read! As Margaret Fuller once said, Todays readers are tomorrows leaders.As always, you can reach me or Sally at 815-232-0774, or visit my website at www.repbrianstewart.com and use the contact form to send me an e-mail.
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