SPRINGFIELD -- In her first legislative session, state Rep. Natalie Phelps Finnie, D-Elizabethtown, joined lawmakers from her own party and across the aisle to pass the state's new budget.
"I am very happy that the first budget proposal I've had a chance to support as state representative of the 118th District is not only balanced, but produces a budget surplus and is fair for our region," Phelps said.
"This could not have been done by a single party, and I'm happy to say that this budget was negotiated in good faith from both parties and passed with overwhelming bipartisan support."
Phelps said southern Illinois "wins" in this budget, "as millions of additional dollars will be sent to SIUC."
She said southern Illinoisans legislators from both parties worked together to pass the legislation and that it creates a surplus, "allowing us to do the responsible thing and pay our debts and obligations."
Phelps said the millions in new funding for SIU is desperately needed, and added that a lot of it will be directed to the Carbondale campus.
In a related issue, Phelps said she opposes efforts to split SIU into two separate universities, saying it would jeopardize the Carbondale campus and thereby threaten the southern Illinois economy.
"It would be unconscionable to allow another year of havoc on our university system while politicians scramble to do their jobs," she added.