Today is a sad day in Illinois.  It’s a day in which I take no joy.  Today my thoughts are with the people of my district and across this state.  Compounding that sadness is the hate and misinformation being spread on these tremendously important issues.

Many have asked, “why did you support this bill?”   During the last two years, I have been to every corner of my district.  I’ve heard from you on the need for a balanced budget and seen the effects of the lack of any budget at all.  These effects have grown worse with each passing month.  It has now gotten to the point where these effects will rear their ugly head for all of us, if they haven’t already.  Without a budget many schools will not open, health care and nursing home facilities will close, small businesses will shutter, property taxes will become even higher and thousands will lose their jobs.  These are not realities somewhere years down the road, these are the realities of the coming weeks and months.

So I fought for the best budget bill attainable.  It’s a bill that’s a long way from perfect, but it’s a bipartisan bill that immediately cuts $3 billion in spending and projects a $7.5 billion reduction of Illinois’ backlog of bills, big steps in the right direction.  Most importantly, it keeps the doors of our small businesses and schools open, the elderly will remain in the care of skilled professionals and Illinoisans will continue to go to work and support their families.  I supported this bill because the alternatives are as bad as we can imagine.  I firmly believe that the further financial hardship caused by moving forward without a budget would ensure income tax hikes twice that of this weeks increase.  The responsible thing to do was to take this step in the right direction.

Over two decades of one party control have put this state in this dire position.  Now is the time for the tough choices that will guide us to better days ahead.  I am proud to be your representative and I will to continue to fight for the reform that this state so desperately needs and the prosperity that its citizens deserve.

Mike


If there is one thing that all conservatives agree on, its that the government spends too much money.  In Illinois, years of unbalanced budgets have made Illinois the least fiscally responsible state in the nation, the harm of which has been deeply accelerated by the absence of a budget for over two years.  Did you know that without a budget, Illinois has been spending more money than ever before? Did you know that the only way to actually cut spending is by establishing a budget?  This is because without a spending plan, the legislature forfeited its control over how your tax dollars are spent and gave it to the courts. It is the equivalent of someone automatically withdrawing money from your personal bank account every single day, without your permission, to pay for things you either do not want or cannot afford, with nothing you can do to make it stop.
 
Until the House passed a balanced budget last week, we were spending $39B annually.  The current budget will immediately cut that spending by $3B, initiating the slow, difficult and essential process of digging our way out of this hole that has been decades in the making.  Without a budget, in just two short years Illinois would have reached a point where its annual revenues were nearly equal to its past due bills.  As a result, almost every single penny of your hard earned tax dollars would have had to be spent on debt and interest.
 
I will be the first to admit that this budget is not perfect.  It is not, in my opinion, the budget that Illinoisians deserve. But it is, at this exact time, a budget that Illinoisians need to put an immediate halt to our state's downward spiral into financial dissolution.  The longer we wait, the more we pay--each and every single one of us.  Days before this budget was passed, we were dangerously close to receiving a junk bond credit rating--a status in which no amount of taxes, cuts, and reforms would be able to save us.
 
Now that Illinois has finally put an end to the runaway spending of the budget impasse, its time to get smart about the way we do business in Illinois.  I am 100% dedicated to fighting for the reforms that this state so desperately needs, but I am not willing to watch our legislature and the courts throw away your hard earned money while we work to establish them.  Last week, we took a step in the right direction.  Let's keep moving.
On Wednesday, the Illinois House of Representatives adopted a resolution designating the section of Illinois Route 78 from Canton to Farmington as the "Sgt. Douglas Riney Memorial Highway". The resolution honoring Sgt. Riney is House Joint Resolution 43 sponsored by State Representative Mike Unes (R-East Peoria).

“Our state and country is safer today because of the sacrifices made by Sgt. Riney and his family,” said Rep. Unes. “Sgt. Riney served on missions in the past that continue to preserve our freedom we cherish today. Designating a portion of Illinois Route 78 the ‘Sgt. Douglas Riney Memorial Highway’ will ensure we never forget the heroism and sacrifice endured by Sgt. Riney.”

Sgt. Douglas Riney died October 19, 2016 in Kabul, Afghanistan of wounds received from encountering hostile enemy forces while on a mission supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Two core components of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel was; working with allies and partners on Resolute Support by training, advising, and assisting Afghan security forces, and continuing counterterrorism operations against the remnants of Al-Qaeda to ensure that Afghanistan is never again used to stage attacks against the United States.
"I am disappointed to learn about Caterpillar's decision to relocate its Global Headquarters from Peoria to Chicago.  Undoubtedly, the impact of this transition will be significant, presenting the Central Illinois region with challenges for years to come.  That being said, I am reminded about the severe economic downturn of the eighties, which occurred at a moment in time where the Peoria area was not nearly as diversified.  We rebounded successfully from that chapter of our history, and I have hope that we can do the same for our future.  I am encouraged by Caterpillar's commitment to maintain a significant presence in Peoria, though the move is still unfortunate considering both the Headquarters' deep history with the city and also its 2015 promise to forever change the face of Downtown Peoria.  I do believe that the consequences this new reality will have on our hotel industry, the airport, and the local housing market should not be underestimated.  Now more than ever, this area must embrace its own winning spirit, its "Never-Say-Die" attitude, and rise up to meet the new challenges of the day."
State Representative Mike Unes (R-East Peoria) was appointed today to serve as an Assistant Minority Leader for the 100th General Assembly.  There are only six positions of this kind that serve the General Assembly’s Republican caucus, and only ten leadership positions in total.

"Mike is one of the hardest working legislators in Illinois. His deep conviction, passion, and energy towards constituent service and finding solutions to our most serious issues provide great service to both his district and our state," said Jim Durkin, House Minority Leader.

Representative Unes is beginning his fourth term representing the 91st District in the Illinois General Assembly, which covers parts of Tazewell, Fulton, and Peoria counties.  This area of the state has been accustomed to having a member on the Republican leadership team.

“I am humbled and honored that Leader Durkin asked me to serve as Assistant Minority Leader.  I am deeply committed to serving the needs and interests of my district, and the people of Illinois.  Likewise, I am proud to carry the torch for our area as a member of my caucus’ leadership team,” said Rep Unes.