Illinois State of the State Address 2000
By Stateline Staff
SPRINGFIELD, Illinois - Feb. 2 - Following is the partial text of Gov. George H. Ryan's 2000 State of the State Address and FY 01 Budget Address:
Speaker Madigan, President Philip, Justices of the Supreme Court, my fellow Constitutional Officers, my partners in the General Assembly, our guests in the gallery . . . And my fellow citizens of Illinois.
Thank you very much. Your warm welcome is greatly appreciated. It's always a pleasure for me to come back to this House. It will always be my home. The days I spent here will forever be in my memory and the friendship of this House will always be close to my heart.
We stand here at the dawn of a new century and the state of Illinois is strong.
Just over a month ago, for a day and a night, people and families all over the world gathered to greet the new millennium. Remote corners of the world, places that most of us only read about, were beamed into our homes via the flick of the remote control.
In countless homes all over the world, people paused, and prayed, and were filled with hope and joy for a better day and a new beginning.
I believe we are at a crossroads there are generations behind us and monumental change ahead of us. Let us think about what we do in terms of the opportunities of the future. Let us remember who we are regular, ordinary people who have an awesome obligation.
While watching the Super Bowl last weekend, I saw a pre-game interview with Kurt Warner a former stock boy from an Iowa grocery store and he said, "I'm just a regular, ordinary guy in an extraordinary situation." I thought, "That pretty much applies to all of us."
We're just regular, ordinary people who struggle through life, good times and bad. We hope our kids grow up OK. And if we are very lucky, we find someone to love, to stand at our side and hold our hand, as we walk through this great adventure called life.
Most of us you and I -- are just regular, ordinary folks like Kurt Warner, who are sometimes called on to do important things.
One year ago, I stood before you and asked that you join with me in a partnership to fashion a bold plan to begin a new day for the People of Illinois. Together, we made history.
Working together, we enhanced education for our children, we created thousands of jobs for our People, we provided for the public safety, we increased social services for those among us in need, we invested in the largest public works improvement program in Illinois history, and together-- we balanced the budget.
We made a difference. The People of this State will live better lives because of what we accomplished, and we did it together.
We can debate political action, and have great discussions concerning political philosophy, but when a child is hungry, we must provide food, when a senior citizen needs health care, we must provide it, when a woman is battered, we must provide shelter.
In Scripture we read, "Though I have faith, so that I could move mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing."
Let me say that any political party or any philosophy of government that loses its heart, loses its purpose for existence.
Last year, we had that purpose. When I asked you to give me your hand in partnership for the People, you said George, here is my hand, I am with you. You don't know how important that was to me, and from the bottom of my heart-- I thank you.
Because of that bipartisan cooperation, our economy is strong. More people are working in Illinois than ever before.
Crime rates continue to fall.
The teen birth rate is at its lowest level in a decade.
The infant mortality rate continues to drop.
And, fewer Illinois children grow up in poverty today than did a decade ago.
And, I can report to you today that the outlook for Illinois' future is unlimited- - and the state of this state is outstanding.
Even with that, we have a special burden now more than ever to look beyond today. To think beyond ourselves. To think about what quality of life we will give to our children and to theirs.
We made education our number one priority.
We agreed that the basic educational development of our children and the preparation of an internationally competitive workforce in Illinois are the keys to success in the 21st Century.
We agreed to earmark 51% of all new state revenues to schools and job training.
We fully funded categorical grants for the first time in Illinois history.
We established tougher teacher standards and demanded tougher standards for student learning, because our children must be prepared to compete in a global economy.
We made our schools safer to learn by providing $14 million to fund the Attorney General's "Safe Schools" initiative. We will make sure our schools are free from crime, free from gangs, free from guns, and free from drugs. And I ask you to join me in thanking him.
Acting together, we gave parents throughout the State a greater choice in selecting a school for their children.
And, provided new scholarship assistance for adult learners, and we fully funded our merit and veterans scholarship programs for the first time ever.
Secondly, we worked on a far-reaching agenda for job creation and economic expansion. At the heart of that agenda was the EDGE tax credit. Our efforts have already begun to reap benefits.
In the last year, we worked with companies large and small on investment projects to benefit the People of Illinois. Those projects resulted in $4.4 billion in new private investment in Illinois-- and created or retained 61,000 jobs for Illinois.
Over 750 jobs at Solo Cup, at the former USX site in Chicago, 1,100 jobs at Uniforms to You in Bedford Park, 2,300 jobs at Tellabs in Naperville, 1,000 jobs at MUMS in Pinckneyville, 1,200 jobs at Sprint PCS in Bolingbrook, 900 jobs at MCI Worldcom in Rockford, and 550 jobs at Quaker Oats in Danville. Throughout Illinois, we are putting people to work.
As we open this 21st Century, the first "buzz words" to enter our culture have been "e-commerce" and the "New Economy" terms that reflect the on-going evolution of business as the world marketplace keeps pace with technology.
Illinois must keep pace with technological advances so that we can retain and attract high tech firms and the high-paying jobs they create.
Last year, we accelerated that pace by devoting over $230 million to help expand all aspects of technology development from concept to customer.
Together, we also expanded tourism promotion last year providing the largest targeted tourism promotion budget in the nation to support this $21 billion industry in Illinois. And, we took the first step towards establishing the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library here is Springfield the capstone of our efforts to honor Illinois' most famous son.
We expanded Illinois exports through creation of the Illinois Trade Office. We re-established a presence for Illinois in critical overseas markets by opening new Illinois trade offices around the world. And, we expanded our horizons by traveling to Cuba a humanitarian mission, to a nation that has been closed to Illinois farmers and Illinois businesses for 40 years.
And, you and I enacted a five year $30 million program to assist distressed communities - thank you, Senator Emil Jones.
Last year, we said we would embark on an historic effort to rebuild our State's crumbling infrastructure, and we did.
Through Illinois FIRST, we agreed to provide $12 billion over five years to repair aging and deteriorating roads and bridges, and to build needed new highway lanes to reduce congestion. We agreed to provide the funds to revitalize our mass transit systems, to construct needed classroom space in growing school districts, and to repair aging schools, to clean up urban brownfields and other environmental hazards, to upgrade our water and sewer systems, and to fund projects that will improve our overall quality of life in Illinois.
Like you, however, I am concerned about making sure that these dollars are wisely spent. I have, therefore, directed the Department of Transportation to impose extra safeguards to make certain that all construction criteria are met.
To oversee this scrutiny to make sure that the process is open and straightforward, I will appoint a panel of business, labor and community leaders to oversee the bidding and contracting process and review any problems or complaints. They will receive my full authority and support. I want the schools, bridges and roads to be built, I want the environment to be protected, and I don't care who is selected to do the work as long as the work is done well.
Agriculture continues to be our number one industry and our proudest heritage. And yet, our farm families continue to suffer, along with others across this country who grow our food. The truth is, we depend on them and they're counting on us.
Last year, we lobbied Congress hard and successfully to pass a federal farm bill that increased payments to farmers -- and we continue to support ethanol.
We said we would do more to protect our environment, and we did that too. We created the $160 million Illinois Open Lands Trust, the largest open space preservation program in Illinois history.
We continued to fund the effort to restore thousands of acres along the Illinois River watershed.
We extended and expanded the $100 million Conservation 2000 program.
We earmarked over $57 million for pedestrian and bike trails in Illinois a 79% increase over the previous two fiscal years combined.
We protected Illinois land by beginning the cleanup of leaking landfills in Chicago, Mattoon and Carlinville.
And, we budgeted enough money to leverage the maximum federal contribution for low-interest wastewater and drinking water loans to help local governments.
You and I fulfilled the promises we made to the People of Illinois last year about recommitting ourselves to educational excellence, strengthening our economy, rebuilding our communities, and restoring our land.
But one of the strongest commitments we made last year together was the pact we made with families throughout Illinois to better protect them from gun violence and crime.
We required longer prison sentences for anyone who uses a gun to commit a crime. We enacted one of the toughest anti-violence laws in the nation by passing 15-20 & Life.
We had the wisdom to pass a Child Access Prevention law that properly balances the rights of legitimate gun owners with the safety we demand for our children.
I convened a Discrimination and Hate Crimes Commission to make recommendations for dealing with these ugly crimes, and to ensure legal protections for all Illinois citizens.
Criminal acts committed against any individual because of race, color, creed, gender or sexual orientation cannot in any way be tolerated or excused. I think it is time we acted.
Regrettably, one critical anti-crime measure was left undone the Safe Neighborhoods Act with the felony gun provision intact. I urge you to fully reinstate a law that worked well for five years to help control illegal gun possessions and reduce gun violence on our streets. I will continue to work with you on a fair compromise.
The debate was distorted by false fears of law abiding hunters being swept up by police. Those claims were nonsense, and we all know it.
This is not an issue about personalities. It is simply a matter of doing what is right.
I believe the People of Illinois understand this issue very well. They know our streets will be safer, our schools will be safer, and our law enforcement officers will be better protected when we re-enact this law. I urge you to do so now re-enact all of it including the felony gun provision.
Last year, we also said we would strengthen and protect Illinois families, and we did.
We enacted landmark HMO reform to protect consumers, and to provide a Patients Bill of Rights.
We established the "Futures for Kids" program under the direction of the First Lady, to help coordinate, publicize, and expand comprehensive prevention and intervention services for young people. I think she has done a terrific job with that program, thank you Lura Lynn Ryan.
In addition, with the help of school districts, the clergy, business leaders, doctors, organized labor and community activists -- we have rescued the KidCare health insurance program from mediocrity.
Last year at this time, we had only 28,000 children enrolled. Today, our enrollment numbers are close to 90,000 and growing every day. I congratulate Director Ann Patla and the Department of Public Aid and their partners for their tremendous success in turning around this program.
For the second straight year, Illinois led the nation in the number of children placed in permanent homes.
In 1999, thanks to your commitment of $46 million more for these services, DCFS placed a record number of children in loving, caring homes -- a 72% increase from 1998. The department is to be congratulated for those efforts to stabilize the lives of these kids -- 7,000 Illinois children.
Your ongoing commitment to Illinois' welfare-to-work programs continues to bear fruit. Last year, Illinois was recognized by the federal government for leading the nation in finding jobs for welfare clients who had faced significant barriers to employment.
In the last year, thousands of welfare families have started making a positive contribution to their lives and to the lives of their families earning respect for themselves as they loosen the bonds of poverty70,000 Illinois families.
In the last year, the number of state welfare clients with full-time jobs has grown by 50%. And even more encouraging, over the past three years, scores of people have become former welfare recipients, and have worked their way completely off of the public aid rolls. It's equivalent to the entire population of Rockford -- 100,000 families.
Last week, I announced my nomination for a new Secretary of Human Services Linda Renee Baker, and I have every confidence that she will continue the tremendous strides we've been making at that Department.
And there were other successful ways, last year, that we were able to help people in need.
Together, we agreed to strengthen the role of the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse within the Department of Human Services to help recommit ourselves to the prevention, recognition and treatment of substance abuse in our society.
Under the strong leadership of the Lieutenant Governor, Illinois' efforts to address women's health concerns are now recognized as a national model for other states to follow. Please join me in thanking her -- Lt. Governor Corinne Wood.
Thanks to your commitment and funding, last year the state expanded cancer screening programs from 50 counties to all 102 counties a potentially life-saving service for women throughout the State.
In addition, we increased funding for domestic violence prevention programs by 62% -- a key element in giving women the strength they need to break free from an abusive relationship for a life of independence.
For our seniors, you and I committed resources to help older Illinoisans maintain a proper level of independence for as long as they can. One important element was to increase the wages of community care workers that provide services to seniors in their own homes.
While I am proud to highlight our human services successes from last year, I must also report on our unsuccessful implementation of the federally mandated disbursement unit for child support payments. There was nothing wrong with Illinois' child support disbursement process when the federal government mandated the change.
There is nothing easy about taking 102 separate and distinct systems and merging them into one. Illinois and its sister states have had great difficulty in making the changeover. That does not excuse our lack of success, however. And, it certainly cannot remove the anger and frustration of custodial and noncustodial parents nor the hardship some have had to endure.
We acted quickly to provide emergency relief, and the situation has improved, but we are not out of the woods yet.
We have brought in outside experts to pinpoint what needs to be done to make the SDU work properly. The General Assembly has directed Auditor General Bill Holland to conduct an audit, so we can all better understand what broke down and why. The solutions evident from both studies will be implemented, the SDU is one of our highest priorities. We need action now.
Overall, we have made great strides this past year to improve the way we manage Illinois state government.
I established the Office of Statewide Performance Review, I challenged them to look at every program, every regulation in state government. In this first year of their Review, they have already identified 638 pages of the Administrative Code that should be repealed - that's 43,000 lines of rules and regulations that can be eliminated. Several dozen obsolete and inactive boards and commissions are being recommended for abolition. We're determined to cut government and make it work better. We're rewriting another 400 sections of the administrative code. Because here in Illinois, it's time for government to speak the way our people do, in plain English.
Our transition to the 21st Century was uneventful in more ways than one. As the calendar turned, the world and our State experienced no dramatic problems, no earth-shattering change.
I want to extend my appreciation to our Chief Technology Officer, Mary Barber Reynolds, and the thousands of state employees who prepared our state for the Y2K rollover, and I want to recognize the 9,000 state workers who gave up all, or a portion, of their millenium celebrations to guard the Y2K watchtowers and keep everything running smoothly. On behalf of a grateful state we thank you.
We all woke up on January 1st to face the same world we left behind on December 31st and the same challenges for the future.
There are still potholes that need to be filled.
The sick and the elderly still need to be cared for.
Children still need to be schooled and protected from harm.
Families still need health care and clean water and safe neighborhoods.
Businesses and farmers still need support in marketing their products and creating jobs.
We still need to make sure that the trains run on time.
And yes, the Bulls still need a decent point guard.
Our responsibilities haven't changed.
Today we need to chart our course for Illinois in this new century.
Today I am here to present this General Assembly with my policy agenda and my proposed State Budget for Fiscal Year 2001, to help us meet our obligations to the People of Illinois.
This is a continued bold agenda for Illinois, and another aggressive budget that allows us to continue to fulfill our commitments to the People.
I believe it's an affordable agenda, a prudent budget, as Illinois continues to be blessed with strong economic growth.
Because of that our continuing economic prosperity, this budget provides $480 million in tax relief approved by this General Assembly during the last two years. Illinois taxpayers will be able to retain $480 million in their own pockets this year, rather than sending it to Springfield.
I know that most of you would like to enact MORE tax relief measures this year, and because this is an election year, there is no shortage of good ideas for tax cuts.
I have advised the legislative leaders that if we can reach a consensus on a tax relief plan this Spring, an affordable plan within our budget, then I would certainly consider it.
My door will always be open to discuss your ideas. But let me be clear I do not believe it is in the State's best interest nor in the best interest of our People to engage in a bidding war for the affections of voters. I will not give away the store just to soothe election year anxieties.
I also know that a second overriding concern this year will be the question of what we should do with the tobacco settlement money. With this budget, I propose we adopt a five year spending plan only, with the basic principle of "Spend a little, and save a lot."
Because of continuing uncertainty over the amount of, and the long term availability of the tobacco settlement monies, this budget proposes that we spend none of the $377 million expected to be received in FY 2000. Instead, I propose we leave all of that money in the Treasurer's investment portfolio as the state's "Revenue Stabilization Fund". Let's save it for a rainy day. This fund would keep the interest it earns and at the end of FY 2005, should contain nearly $500 million.
I would recommend that 50% of the tobacco settlement receipts for FY2001 through FY2005 be deposited in a trust fund to be invested by the Treasurer. The remaining 50% of the total revenues would all be spent on health and human service programs, and that money would be used to leverage additional matching funds.
With this plan, then, we would spend roughly $970 million of our tobacco funds on programs that would generate nearly $2 billion more in matched spending. We would be able to improve our health and human service infrastructure by nearly $3 billion over the next 5 years and still have almost $1.4 billion in the bank.
Where should we spend this money to accomplish the greatest good?
As with tax relief measures, we have had a number of thoughtful suggestions put forward, many from those of you in this room and I acknowledge all of those suggestions. Yet, I believe we can best spend this $970 million on programs to improve the health of our society and by planning strategically, we can generate program benefits at roughly 3 times the size of our investment.
I propose that we allocate $217 million over the next five years to gradually expand Medicaid eligibility for the aged, blind and disabled. These funds would leverage an additional $315 million in federal funds over the five years. By making this investment, the State would increase funding for the purchase of prescription drugs by our low income elderly and disabled citizens, and our funding of other medical services for our most needy citizens would increase by $300 million.
This plan proposes that we spend $40 million over the next five years to allow disabled workers to obtain or continue Medicaid coverage by paying a premium.
This year, I suggest a one-time investment of $8 million to hopefully attract an additional $15 million in federal funds to finance further KidCare outreach to medically uninsured children in our State.
This plan provides $315 million over the next five years to hospitals for serving the most severely ill patients.
I propose we spend an additional $350 million to nursing homes providing long term care for the elderly.
As you know, Illinois currently has 94 local health departments which are responsible for providing local health assistance needs and aiding in the prevention of communicable diseases. I propose that we provide them with an additional $55 million over the next five years, so they can increase per capita spending from one dollar and 15 cents to two dollars, and so we can increase their base level funding from $50,000 to $100,000 for each department.
I propose we allocate an additional $4.5 million of these tobacco funds for the childhood lead screening program and an additional $5 million for our Women's Health Illinois initiative.
I propose we provide $6 million for grants-in-aid to local governments to establish enforcement programs that reduce youth access to tobacco products. I propose we allocate $50 million to community-based alcohol and substance abuse services around this State, and $17.5 million to the Youth Smoking Prevention initiative at the Department of Public Health. Let's act today to protect Illinois kids.
I propose we spend $15 million to establish local, community-based Family Resource Centers so that government at all levels can provide services to those in need at a single location in the neighborhood that must be served.
I propose we spend $180 million over five years for grants to major teaching hospitals throughout the State. These grants allow hospitals to develop new treatments and therapies that could benefit all of us.
Finally, I propose that we allocate $196 million in tobacco funds over the next five years to expand our operations and capital investments in biotechnology in this State. These investments will allow us to leverage an additional $1 billion to help improve our biotechnology infrastructure.
I believe this five year comprehensive plan for our tobacco revenues is a reasonable approach, providing for the best and wisest use of this financial windfall. I have proposed allocations that will advance the health and welfare of the People of Illinois while safeguarding our economy and our future.
This budget, in particular, addresses three fundamental areas for our attention this year: preparing Illinois for the new economy and workforce and technology, the refinement of our human services infrastructure, and our continuing commitment to criminal justice and public safety.
Last year, I was privileged to be one of only eight governors named by the National Governors Association to a new "Task Force on the New Economy".
The New Economy is fast, knowledge-based, and service-oriented. It is driven by technological advances and fueled by the skill levels of the workforce. We must be ready to compete.
I want Illinois to become a recognized leader in this technological revolution and this budget stakes our claim to that leadership.
With this budget our #1 priority, as it was in 1999, continues to be educating our children and preparing our workforce for the jobs of the New Economy.
This budget honors our commitment to devote 51% of all new general revenues to our schools and to job training programs. This budget proposes $528 million more for education and workforce programs - the largest education funding increase ever proposed in Illinois that doesn't require a tax increase to pay for it.
Last year, for the first time in Illinois history, we fully funded mandated categorical programs for local districts. With this budget, we do so again.
Early childhood programs, reading grants and summer bridge programs will get an increase of $53 million to reach more kids.
This budget boosts funding for literacy programs, school to work initiatives, and our on-going campaign to promote greater parental involvement in their children's schools.
This budget includes a pilot program based on the successful Israel Arts and Science Academy to improve science and technology instruction in our K through 12 classrooms.
We will invest $42 million to assist in the professional development of our teachers.
If we expect our students to do well in the classroom, we must provide the resources for their teachers to stay at the top of their game.
In addition, this budget contains $80 million to support and retain the academic talent and research that makes our college campuses among the best in the nation.
To help open access to higher education, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission will receive a budget increase of $39 million to increase the scope and breadth of its scholarship programs to serve more than 135,000 students throughout the State.
And, I propose that for the first time in Illinois history, we provide "career scholarship" grants to high school graduates who choose not to go to college.
We will provide a grant of up to $1,000 in support of vocational training, or an apprenticeship, or attendance at a trade school to learn a specific job skill and start down a career path.
These grants would be designed to give a helping hand to young people when they need it most, at the start of their working adult lives.
To further bring our workforce up to speed with the New Economy, I recommend the coordination of some 18 separate programs form six different agencies to provide for a seamless continuum of education, job training, and lifelong learning.
Last month, the State Board of Education voted to transfer the control of their expansive adult education program to the Illinois Community College Board. I ask you to approve this transfer. I also ask that you approve the proposal of the State's Workforce Investment Board to move the administration of the federal Job Training Partnership Act from DCCA to the Department of Employment Security.
I believe that such a move assists the ability of our locally-based Employment & Training Centers to match appropriate workers with available jobs.
And while we reshape our workforce, I'm asking you to join with me to approve an historic initiative that will "re-wire" Illinois' place in the high tech New Economy. With this budget, I am proposing a five-year $1.9 billion commitment of state funds that will assist in the development of over $3.9 billion in technology-related infrastructure throughout Illinois.
It's called Illinois VentureTECH. It's an investment in our future, a commitment to research and development, biotechnology, health sciences, information technology and advanced physics that will nurture and expand our State's role in the New Economy of the 21st Century. I believe these are investments we must make if we are to secure our place in the New Economy. I ask your support to enact Illinois VentureTECH.
This five-year plan will provide $343 million to enable us to build the Illinois Century Network the statewide technology "backbone" that we initiated last year. The Illinois Century Network will link schools, libraries, museums and government offices throughout the State.
This five year plan includes nearly $200 million for technology programs in our elementary and secondary schools and over $400 million for technology management initiatives in state government.
This five year plan includes support for engineering equipment grants through IBHE Alzheimer's Disease research, Juvenile Diabetes and other health services grants expansion of the Illinois Technology Enterprise Corporation and Accelerator research led by IIT.
For technology-related capital projects, I propose $30 million to support the construction of a $200 million biotechnology building at Northwestern University. I include the $93 million we agreed on last year to build a new Medical School for the University of Illinois in Chicago. I propose $30 million to provide additional space at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications in Urbana -- to allow them to compete for potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in new federal funds for technology research.