PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — As Illinois lawmakers prepare for 2021, the State budget is a popular topic of discussion heading into the new year.
With the State citing the COVID-19 pandemic for around a $4 billion budget deficit, State Rep. Ryan Spain (R-Peoria) said Illinois needs assistance from the federal government, and we need it quick.
“It’s needed for every state across the country. It’s needed for our local communities too that are struggling and don’t have the tools other units of government have to balance their budgets,” Rep. Spain said. “We need Congress to engage and help. This is important for offering assistance to our small businesses who have been devastated throughout COVID, but also stabilizing units of government from local and to the State of Illinois.”
Rep. Spain said State lawmakers also need to be looking at making cuts to their spending and having economic growth. But that’s something the State of Illinois is not known for.
Rep. Spain discussed an Illinois government official whose name has been surrounded by controversy, Speaker Michael Madigan. Spain said he believes Speaker Madigan needs to step down once his term is done on January 13, 2021.
“I think he has been very destructive for the State of Illinois,” Rep. Spain said. “He’s been Speaker since the year I was born. He’s been in the State legislature for 50 years. You can certainly say that the pattern of the State of Illinois for the last 50 years has been a steady decline. I really do think the buck does stop with Speaker Madigan.”
Rep. Spain said Speaker Madigan created the culture of corruption and “poor ethical activity,” calling it a “dark cloud” around the State of Illinois.
“He is desperately looking to clutch to power. He has suggested to members of his caucus that he will help broker an income tax increase this spring, that he will continue doing his work to orchestrate partisan gerrymandering of the legislative maps in the State of Illinois. It really is comments of desperation that underscore why we need to make changes in the State of Illinois,” Rep. Spain said.
On Saturday March 14, WMBD/WYZZ’s Matt Sheehan and Rep. Spain spoke about a hotline offering resources for people in need in the Peoria area. That Saturday was the day the first COVID-19 case was reported in the Tri-County area.
The hotline is “2-1-1.” It is run by Heart of Illinois United Way and Advanced Medical Transport (AMT). It allows people to call and get access to resources they’re in search for. You can find more info on 2-1-1 in the article below.
“Really we were functioning in a true emergency situation. We are lucky as central Illinois to have a service called 211,” Rep. Spain said.
The 2-1-1 hotline is for non-emergency calls, to help find a food pantry, mental health services, what to do if you’re feeling COVID-19 symptoms, and more.
Rep. Spain is now working on a holiday diaper drive.
“Diapers are not covered by any assistance programs we have for needy families,” Rep. Spain said. “It’s one of the most in-demand items in our local food pantries, but it often one of the most seldom donated items.”
His legislative office is collecting diapers to distribute them to local food pantries. You can drop them off at Spain’s legislative office in Peoria, or mail them.
His office is located at Illinois Central College North Campus, Arbor Hall, Suite B, 5407 N. University St., Peoria, IL 61614.
You can find more about the Diaper Drive here.
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