Sen. Paul Schimpf sits down with News 3 after spring legislative - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Sen. Paul Schimpf sits down with News 3 after spring legislative session

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WSIL -- Illinois Spring legislative session wrapped up last week with lawmakers passing the state’s first on-time budget since Governor Bruce Rauner took office in 2015.

Republican State Senator Paul Schimpf was among those lawmakers who game together to pass the budget, and swung by the News 3 Newsroom to talk about the session and other issues facing southern Illinois.

Schimpf calls it balanced, bi partisan budget, but though he’s happy to have a spending plan in place, he says its far from perfect. 

“I think our choices were not between this budget or a better budget.” Schimpf said. “I think our choices were this budget or an impasse and another impasse would have been devastating.”

The positives?

“I wanted something that had to be balanced, something that didn’t have any new taxes or new tax increases, and I also wanted something that complied with the Illinois constitution,” he said.

But Schimpf adds there is still too much spending in certain areas and that he wishes more was going to pay down the state’s bill backlog. 

He also stressed the importance of moving forward with the Southwest Illinois Connector, a proposed four lane highway that would connect Murphysboro with the Metro East. 

Earlier this year he filed legislation to form a task force to study the cost, feasibility and potential impact of the connector.

After passing through the senate, that legislation is waiting for a vote in the house.

“I think that if we’re going to have economic growth in southwestern Illinois, I think that highway needs to happen,” he said.

Schimpf also weighed in on the tension in the SIU system that has led Some legislators and members of the Carbondale community to call on president Randy Dunn to resign.

He says says the board of trustees should call an emergency meeting to discuss the future of Dunn because some members have said they lack confidence in his leadership moving forward.

Schimpf didn’t weigh in on whether Dunn should be replaced, saying that’s for the board to decide, but said he wants the SIU system to stay intact.

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