(Senator Jim Oberweis and Representative Margo McDermed of Frankfort, at right, sit with their legislative colleagues during Governor Bruce Rauner’s third “State of the State” address January 25 in the House of Representatives chambers.)
Governor Bruce Rauner says he remains “deeply optimistic” that lawmakers will come together for the good of Illinois, restoring fiscal responsibility and approving fundamental changes in the way state government works, according to Senator Jim Oberweis.
Governor Rauner delivered his third “State of the State” address to a joint session of Illinois lawmakers Jan. 25 in the House of Representatives chambers.
“Given all our assets—a well-trained workforce, top-notch universities, some of the best farm land in the nation, and our many transportation resources— Illinois should be leading the nation, but we aren’t,” Senator Oberweis said. “Years of tax-and-spend policies and strong-arm tactics by the politicians in Springfield—led by the House Speaker—have resulted in one of the highest overall tax burdens, $11 billion in unpaid bills, and the largest unfunded pension system liability in the country. This must stop.”
Senator Oberweis said the Rauner Administration has been working to bring a new direction to Illinois, but is dealing with the cumulative effects of years of tax-and-spend policies and questionable budgeting practices. The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget has released its three-year fiscal projections mandated by state statute, and those projections show that under “auto-pilot” budgets over the next three years, the state’s backlog of bills could reach $34 billion by June 30, 2020.
The 25th District Senator said he stands ready to work with Governor Rauner and his fellow lawmakers to promote the kind of economic climate that encourages job creation and growth. Other legislative issues that need action this year are property tax relief; education funding and reforms that prepare young people for careers; workers’ compensation and regulation reforms that encourage business growth and jobs; and reining in state spending.
“We must implement common-sense reforms like those proposed by the Governor for workers’ comp reform, term limits, property tax relief, redistricting reform, and pension reform,” Senator Oberweis said. “We must do what is needed to keep people and businesses from leaving our state in record numbers. We must send a strong message that entrepreneurs and jobs are welcome in Illinois.”
Governor Rauner is expected to present his Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Address February 15.