Senator Jim Oberweis says he could not support a $35.4 billion budget passed by the Illinois Senate May 30 because it increases spending and relies on one-time revenues and other fiscal gimmickry.
“In 2011, during a dead-of-night, lame-duck session, Democrat legislative leaders shafted Illinois taxpayers and now lack the courage to face up to the consequences, relying instead on the fiscal gimmickry of one-time revenue sources that only compound the problem down the road. To make matters worse, they also increase spending,” Senator Oberweis said.
The 25th District Senator said Democrat legislative leaders did not have the votes needed to make the 2011 “temporary” income tax hike permanent; however, the issue is likely to resurface after the general election in the fall.
To forestall such a maneuver, the Senate Republican Caucus on May 30 committed to opposing any tax increase offered in the lame-duck session of the General Assembly. Led by Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont, members of the Republican caucus also called on their Democrat colleagues to join them.
“We won the battle this legislative session in defeating the Democrats’ plans for yet another income tax increase, but we didn’t win the war,” Senator Radogno said. “The Democrat leaders and Governor Pat Quinn have all but admitted they will raise taxes after the November election. The people of Illinois need to join us in the effort to block their maneuvers.”
A lame-duck session would convene after the November elections, prior to the seating of newly elected members of the Senate and House of Representatives. Several legislative proposals to limit the powers of lame-duck legislators – or eliminate the session altogether – have been bottled up in the Senate and House this spring session.
“What are their plans for putting Illinois on a sound financial footing? They do not seem to have one. State government cannot crank out more money when we need it, like the federal government. Bills come due eventually,” Senator Oberweis said. “This is another clear case of kicking the can down the road. However, inaction only deepens the fiscal crisis.”
The 25th District Senator said to better understand the effects of the Quinn Administration’s budget tactics, citizens only need to look at what he has done to Illinois over his first five years.
• Second highest unemployment rate in the nation – higher than any neighboring state and higher than any comparable state;
• Worst credit rating in the nation – more credit downgrades in his tenure than all other Illinois Governors combined. Ten more credit downgrades than Rod Blagojevich;
• Largest tax increase in Illinois history – 67%. Took a week’s pay out of the pockets of every Illinois family each year since 2011;
• People are fleeing Illinois. Independent studies by moving companies identify Illinois as an outmigration state.
• Illinois is ranked near the bottom of the nation for job growth over the next year.
Senator Oberweis said the state’s economy won’t recover until Illinois does more to encourage job creation and growth, and he is willing to work with Governor Quinn and legislative leaders to develop those policies.
Fiscal Year 2015 runs from July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015.