SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Omar Aquino, D-Chicago, released the following statement in response to the passage of a balanced budget plan by the Illinois Senate:

“Leaders within each party came together and rejected Governor Rauner’s detrimental cuts altogether and instead developed a responsible, balanced budget plan.

“I am pleased that this budget provides full funding to Medicaid services, human services and restores funding for vital programs in my district such as Children’s Place, the Autism Program, and Immigration Integration Services. This budget protects safety nets for seniors and maintains the scheduled rate increase for the Community Care Program.

“The budget increases funding to K-12 schools by $350 million and fully funds the education programs in our community that the Governor proposed to cut such as After School Matters and the Parent Mentoring Program. Our state universities will receive a 2 percent overall increase and MAP grants will be extended to four academic years, a move that will help retain middle class students in Illinois by making financial aid more foreseeable.

“My hope is that Governor Rauner will put politics aside, stop using vulnerable citizens as leverage, and do what’s right for the people he serves by signing this budget into law.”