SOUTHERN ILLINOIS – Some southern Illinois state lawmakers are reacting to Wednesday’s virtual State of the State and Budget Address by Gov. JB Pritzker.
State Senator Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) issued the following statement after the Address:
“This year has been devastating for so many of our residents, with the pandemic taking a monumental toll on Illinois’ communities, schools and businesses. Now is the time in which our state needs responsible leadership the most, and that begins with embracing real structural reforms that help our economy begin the road to recovery. Illinois needs a budget that fights for our business community and works to create economic opportunity. Especially here in Southern Illinois, where the backbone of our business community is locally-owned, small businesses, we have to be committed to providing relief and assistance to those who were hit hardest by repeated shutdowns and rigid restrictions.Disappointingly, the budget proposal put forth today is out-of-balance and does nothing to help businesses and job creators of this state who continue to struggle day-to-day. Moving forward, I will continue to advocate for economic development and job creation in Southern Illinois.”
State Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton) listened via Zoom to Governor JB Pritzker’s combined 2021 State of the State and FY 22 Budget Address on Wednesday. Severin says the format was as unique as the speech given by the usually affable and upbeat JB Pritzker.
“We saw a different Governor Pritzker today. I think he was very defensive and very partisan. The last year has been tough on everyone, and I think the Governor might be realizing that his decisions have had very negative impacts on the state budget and economic growth,” Severin said. “I was looking forward to hearing the list of cuts the Governor had put together to make his budget balance. Instead, I heard a lot of blaming Republicans for the state’s woes. That kind of falls flat because the Governor is the one that has been making all the decisions by executive order for the last year or so.”
Severin says Pritzker’s budget plan will also increase taxes on small businesses by $1 billion dollars.
“The Governor today mentioned many times his desire to close what he calls ‘corporate loopholes’ to help close part of the budget gap,” Severin said. “What that means is he wants to raise taxes on small businesses across the State that have been so badly hurt by his orders by a billion or so dollars to make his budget balance. Even after that, House Republicans have calculated the budget deficit to be around $1.5 billion. We have $5 billion in unpaid bills and a massive pension debt as well. There is no true balance to this budget, but there was a lot of blame-shifting in the speech.”
Severin says in 2019, Governor Pritzker ordered his Agency heads to produce a list of across-the-board cuts to state spending of up to as much as 6%.
“If that list of cuts exists, I have not seen it. If that list exists, the governor should produce it for the public and media to review, and lawmakers should debate the list of cuts through the General Assembly’s appropriations process. That’s the only way we will get to a truly balanced budget. Punishing small businesses and removing incentives for economic investment and growth will make the budget situation in Illinois worse, not better.”
118th District State Representative Patrick Windhorst (R-Metropolis) issued the following statement in response to Governor JB Pritzker’s combined 2021 State of the State and Budget Address.
“This address was the most partisan I’ve heard the Governor give to date. The Governor blaming Republicans for Illinois’ economic woes is designed to mislead and deflect responsibility, especially considering that the Democrats control the entirety of state government and the Governor has been operating the government by executive order for nearly a year.
In 2019, many House Republican members supported key economic reforms and business incentives that resulted in increased private investment in our State.
The Governor’s proposed FY 22 budget goes back on the agreement to support these programs. The kind of programs that spur the economic activity the Governor said is key to solving our state’s fiscal challenges. The Governor instead has proposed a $900 million increase in taxes on small businesses. Governor Pritzker may call these incentives for economic growth ‘loopholes’, but in reality, he is proposing a massive tax hike on small businesses when they can least afford it.
While the Governor has focused on increasing taxes, he should focus on spending in this $41 billion budget. More than a year ago, Governor Pritzker ordered his Deputy Governor Dan Hines and state agency directors to produce a list of across-the-board cuts. House Republicans have demanded to see the list of cuts. To my knowledge, no one has ever seen that list of cuts, yet the Governor called on Republicans in the super minority to produce our list of cuts.
The Constitution calls on the Governor to present a truly balanced budget. The FY 22 budget proposed by Governor Pritzker today relies on federal government money that may or may not come. That is the tactic used to pass last year’s budget and call it, ‘balanced’.
The Democrats’ recent practice of relying on revenues that have not yet passed and a bailout from Washington DC that never came resulted in a widening of our budget deficit. Democrats control every single lever of power in Illinois’ government. It would help all of our citizens if they would learn their lesson, stop spending money we don’t have and make the tough choices that are necessary to balance the budget.”