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GOP lawmakers respond to Pritzker budget speech


SPRINGFIELD—State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) released the following statement regarding Governor Pritzker’s Budget Address on February 19th:
“I have said it before, but it still rings true:  until the Democrats curb their insatiable appetite for spending, Illinois will not be financially stable.  We cannot keep taxing our way into new revenues; we need to structurally change spending.  The most disturbing part of the Governor’s address was that he based his budget proposal on new spending.  We cannot plan on hypotheticals.  That is the root of the problem, and until we actually change this, we will not move forward.
What’s worse, is that the Governor is underselling our current revenues.  Growth is extremely important for our businesses and the economy at large—we have record revenue growth right now and that should be recognized and used to pay down our debts.  The high costs of living in Illinois are driving families and businesses out of our state.  The State of Illinois is continuing to lose young people and high-income earners.  I wanted to hear something in the Governor’s address that spoke to those factors, which really matter when we are talking about producing a balanced budget.  Instead, the Governor is raising taxes and barely touching pensions.
Last year, the Governor proposed skipping pension payments in his budget address.  This year’s address wasn’t much different.  It was not a serious proposal to tackle the state’s biggest issue.  Our pension debt is serious and it will continue to build until we address it.”
Today State Representative Brad Stephens (R-Chicago) released the following statement in response to the Governor’s annual Budget Address:
“I am skeptical of the budgetary framework laid out by the Governor today. Without reforms, he will only ask for further tax increases. We need to build on legislative successes, such as the union backed pension consolidation bill for police and fire that passed last fall with bipartisan support.
“Instead of proposing long-term budgetary reforms, he is requesting additional revenue from yet another income tax increase. The Democrats have already raised taxes – TWICE – and those tax increases (once in 2011 and once in 2017) failed to put the State on a fiscally sound path. Taxpayers are weary of this song and dance. Democrats will keep coming back asking middle class families in on the northwest side of Chicago and in the suburbs for more of their hard-earned money.
“The claim is that only the top 3% will pay more, but there are no provisions in place to prevent future rates from being raised. No provisions will prevent the higher tax brackets from impacting the middle class who are already being soaked by high property taxes. No true reforms were presented to prevent the pension payment from ballooning. Nothing in this budget will provide for real property tax relief, improve education for our kids, or protect senior citizens on fixed incomes. What we heard today was more of the same, and this framework will only exacerbate Illinois’ outmigration problems.”

SPRINGFIELD—On Wednesday, Governor JB Pritzker presented a proposed Fiscal Year 2021 Budget that increases State operating expenses by $2.2 billion. Following the Governor’s Budget Address, State Representative Amy Grant (R-Wheaton) issued a press statement:

“I appreciate the Governor’s interest in addressing wide-spread problems at the Department of Children & Family Services, but ‘more money’ isn’t necessarily the right or only answer. The Democrats who control Springfield are always quick to throw more money at problems, when perhaps a better approach would be a top-to-bottom audit of DCFS so that root causes of agency failings can be identified and remedied.

“With the booming economy across the country, Illinois is reaping the benefits of more people working and paying taxes, which creates more revenue through economic growth. There is simply no need to raise taxes, through the Governor’s graduated income tax plan or other taxing proposals, to balance the budget. We need to let economic growth drive our revenues and then live within those means.

“I take issue with the Governor’s approach for how he is selling his budget plan. He is essentially tying Illinois’ fiscal future to the passage of his graduated income tax proposal. His ‘pass my graduated income tax Constitutional Amendment or else’ rhetoric was a bullying tactic. It was not well-received by a great number of lawmakers listening to the speech.”

Springfield, IL… Today, State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) issued the following statement regarding Governor Pritzker's Budget Address:

"This budget feels very temporary and proposes a lot of short term, small ideas for Illinois’ long term problems. Lauding $100 million in savings here and there in an over $40 billion dollar budget is like a family celebrating finding a quarter in the couch cushions while the couch and the entire house are being repossessed. Most concerning, it sounds as though Governor Pritzker is walking away from the idea that Illinois can, or needs to, reform it’s $137 billion pension debt. The Governor is holding hostage a solid budget proposal so that voters support his agenda to tax Illinoisans even more. We need to think bigger than what Governor Pritzker is proposing."

SPRINGFIELD…Today Governor JB Pritzker gave his annual budget address to a joint assembly of the House and Senate.  State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) released the following statement in response:
"No doubt, the Governor and the legislature have a tough job ahead–creating a budget that's balanced at the same time the state still grapples with billions of dollars of unpaid bills and mandated spending. Instead of giving us a plan that makes the state more attractive to taxpayers, the Governor and his team proposed a budget that once again relies on greater taxation and borrowing. He's trying to sell another round of tax increases but neglecting the very reforms that would allow our state and local governments to manage their budgets more efficiently and effectively with current revenues."

Springfield, IL… Today, State Representative Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst) issued the following statement in response to Governor Pritzker's Budget Address:

"Last year Governor Pritzker signed the largest state budget in history.  He clearly has no intention to slow down state spending. Despite asking his agencies last fall to prepare for possible budget reductions, the governor offered nothing meaningful.  

Governor Pritzker said wishful thinking will not wave away Illinois’ structural budget problems.  Yet most of his address offered promises Illinois can give more “free” stuff to his favorite constituencies, as long as we increase taxes.  An analysis from Kiplinger released just days ago confirmed what I’ve heard over and over again from our district residents – that Illinois is the least tax friendly state.  They are tapped out, and want the state to learn to do more with the plenty they already give.

The Governor complained that prior years’ budget failures kept the state from functioning.  But his new budget threatens to withhold funding for nursing homes, Medicare, parks, education, and a whole host of programs, unless his graduated income tax passes.  That is unconscionable.  A budget shouldn’t be a de facto bribe to Illinois taxpayers to change their constitution.  Nor should wages for elderly caregivers be held hostage like this.  He should offer Illinoisans an honest way to live within our existing means.     

Fundamentally, it’s irresponsible to craft a budget based on the assumption that Illinoisans support more taxes.  Illinois has $137 billion in growing pension liabilities, $7.3 billion in current unpaid bills, and the 2nd highest property taxes in the nation. The Governor’s speech sounded more like a second State of a State than an actual budget address. It was full of platitudes, storytelling, and flowery language. But, to fix our massive fiscal mess will take big ideas and hard decisions, none of which we’ve heard from the Governor."

SPRINGFIELD—On Wednesday, Governor JB Pritzker presented a recommended Fiscal Year 2021 budget that increases state operating expenses by $2.2 billion. After listening to the Governor’s speech, State Representative Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville) issued the following statement:

“Going into this speech I was hoping to hear plans for a balanced budget that included no new taxes or tax increases, and a pledge of bipartisanship during the budget process. Instead, what we heard today was a call for more taxes and increased spending, delivered through a very thinly veiled threat that services to Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens would be cut if voters fail to approve the Governor’s graduated income tax plan. His ‘pass my graduated income tax or else’ message was not well-received.

“Governor Pritzker is relying on hypothetical revenue to balance his proposed budget. Rather than utilizing record-high revenues already at his disposal, he includes $1.4 billion from a graduated income tax ballot question that will not come before voters until November- five months into the new fiscal year. It’s irresponsible budgeting, and a prime example of why Illinois perpetually lives in deficit situations. We simply cannot build fake money into the budget.

“Now that we have a budget proposal on the table, I hope lawmakers will take a thoughtful and deliberate approach to crafting the bills that will emerge as the final budget documents. We don’t need to wait until the end of May to begin this important work. We need to begin bipartisan appropriations work right away so that a responsible and balanced revenue and expenditure plan can come together prior to our May 31 adjournment date.”


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