Yesterday the General Assembly sent Governor Bruce Rauner a series of bills that puts a temporary halt to the budget impasse in Springfield. The Governor has already signed into law the bills that provide record-high spending levels for K-12 Education and six-month bridge funding for all other budget areas. I am one of four legislators who voted against the bill and would like to explain my rationale.
While yesterday’s bills ensured schools would open on time and that important services and programs would continue to be operational, the votes also guaranteed a large tax increase next year. The levels of spending that were approved are simply not sustainable over 12 months, and come January the colleges and universities, prisons, social service agencies and other important entities that rely on state funding will be once again unable to provide services due to a lack of funding.
What was approved yesterday, if extended over 12 months, was not even close to being balanced. In December, with the November election in the rearview mirror, lawmakers will be more inclined to make the very unpopular decision to raise taxes to backfill the gaping budget hole that will materialize in January. I simply could not support measures that I know lays the groundwork for tax hikes next year.
I will continue to advocate for responsible and balanced spending, coupled with reforms that eliminate waste in our systems and are essential to grow our Illinois economy. We must stop increasing revenues on the backs of overtaxed Illinoisans. We need to grow jobs and improve our economy so that new job growth leads us to increased revenue. Yesterday’s votes, in my opinion, just led us all further down the path of fiscal irresponsibility. We must continue to press for and achieve real reforms on the drivers of Illinois’ out-of-control budgets: state pensions (including pension reform for our local governments) and Medicaid spending.
As always, please do not ever hesitate to call me or write to me about issues that are important to you. You may reach my Palatine District office at (847) 202-6584 or email me by going to www.repmorrison54.com and clicking on the “Contact” button.