SPRINGFIELD…Today Governor JB Pritzker gave his annual budget address for Fiscal Year 2022. State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) released the following statement in response:
“Historically, Illinois has had a tremendously difficult time passing decent, balanced budgets. This year we have an even bigger mountain to climb with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic affecting our economic outlook.
“In today’s address, while Governor Pritzker decried his support for prioritizing small businesses, his actions throughout this past year and the reality of his proposal today speak otherwise. This pandemic has crippled Illinois businesses and economically vulnerable residents, launching unemployment records to new levels. To turn around our economy, stimulate growth, and create jobs, we cannot ignore the vital role the business community plays in that path forward.
“The Governor’s rule by executive order crushed small businesses – and he is now going back on his word to exclude bipartisan, agreed upon reforms from 2019. What I’ve heard time again from constituents is that Illinois must address its structural spending problems, particularly its worst-in-the-nation pension systems, before it even considers raising taxes. According to Kiplinger’s Magazine, Illinois already is worst-in-the-nation when it comes to its overall tax burden, yet the Governor and his allies refuse to acknowledge this reality.
“The Governor should’ve used this speech to level with the people of Illinois about these unsustainable statewide pension systems that will demand around $10 Billion this year–nearly a quarter of the state’s overall budget. It is increasingly difficult to adequately fund human services, education, transportation, and public safety funding needs when we fail to address this growing problem.
“Illinois residents and businesses have been forced to take a hard look at what monies are going out the door and to make the tough decisions to make course corrections. The powerful public sector unions in Springfield and throughout Illinois, however, have refused to come to the table to seek compromise. This cannot continue. The Governor and the legislature as whole is not doing its duty if it ignores real and meaningful pension reform this year.”