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Illinois HB696 Is Bad for Libraries

Instead of finding smart ways to balance the state budget, HB696 targets our library districts and small town libraries with automatic budget “caps."

Illinois HB696 Is Bad for Libraries

Instead of finding smart ways to balance the state budget, HB696 targets our library districts and small town libraries with automatic budget “caps."

The Illinois state budget doesn’t exist yet for this fiscal year. It is 10 months overdue. In a mad scramble to find a ‘grand bargain’ between political parties and players, a bad idea for libraries is moving quickly through Springfield. Instead of finding smart ways to balance the state budget, HB696 targets our library districts and small town libraries with automatic budget “caps”. It will hurt the people our librarians serve more than it could ever help with the state budget impasse.

This is a Koch Brothers funded Americans for Prosperity mega PAC supported bill to defund libraries.

HB696 is a ‘tax cap’ bill. It would eliminate the ability of library district boards to manage and balance their own local budgets. It would force librarians across the state to zero-out even the smallest improvements to services each year. It would require every library district in Illinois to go out for a vote when they just need to pay the bills. HB696 could even push our library districts into default because it arbitrarily and universally “caps” their budgets. HB696 needs a No vote.

Illinois libraries are already running basic services like interlibrary loan and audio books for the blind on reserves. We believe that targeting library districts is the wrong way to fix Illinois’ problems. HB696 is in the Illinois State Senate now. If passed, HB696 does something very techincal to “non-home rule” units of government. Inside that technical jargon is a terrible idea for our library districts and small town libraries. The Illinois Library Association opposed it. Everyone from, the Illinois Association of Park Districts, the Illinois Principals Association, to theIllinois Municipal League are opposed to HB696 for smart reasons. Of course, listed as support of this bill is Koch Brothers funded Americans for Prosperity mega PAC.

Your state Senators need to hear from you - now - about voting “No” onHB696. Don’t let them target libraries when they should be fixing our bigger problems. We’d love to see Illinois balance its budget and put our tax dollars to work improving libraries, educating our kids, and ensuring we have decent parks, clean water and livable communities. But putting our libraries at risk with HB696 is the wrong way to fix Illinois.  Add your name to our HB696 petition and help protect our libraries.