McCombie Column: Budget Address Breakdown

Last week in Springfield lawmakers heard from Governor JB Pritzker on his wants and wishes for the coming fiscal year. In his annual address, he presented his priorities in the form of a state budget proposal. House Republicans, believe the budget is a moral document that should not be used in a political fashion, so we are very cognizant of what is included in the proposal and what was left out.

Significant and structural tax relief or reforms were absent from the proposal. Instead, we heard about new programs, and the expansion of existing programs that put further pressure on an already tight fiscal picture. The truth is: this budget is unbalanced and again the taxpayer was not considered, unless requesting new taxes is what we are now calling consideration.

Serving in the minority party means holding the majority party accountable. This year’s budget address  confirmed state revenue growth is stagnant, which means we must hold spending firm. Illinoisans cannot afford to fund the budget with new taxes. Instead, we should be focusing on solutions that increase state revenue by growing our tax base through lower unemployment and better paying jobs. Growing our communities, enacting business friendly policies, and putting our most vulnerable first, will ultimately give the real relief that Illinois families deserve.

The ongoing “migrant” crisis has been a challenge. It is a self-made humanitarian crisis and one of the Administration’s making. Their failure to recognize the problem before it became a crisis is a massive issue that has now raided our state budget coffers to the tune of $2.8 billion and growing.  This spending pressure now requires elected officials to pick winners and losers with regards to the budget. To make matters worse, the crisis is also accompanied by an even more dangerous consequence than state spending – I’m talking about drugs and human trafficking. Taxpayers are on the line and the residents of this state have been put into danger—but to what extent? That will be the biggest question for lawmakers as we proceed through the spring legislative session. I encourage your participation and ask that you stay engaged, especially during our legislative session.

Trust me, behind the Governor’s rosy budget proposal you will find the tax increases lurking in the shadows. Increases that will be costly to you, your employer, and your quality of life. Elected officials must be held to a higher standard, called out for broken promises, and be held accountable on every turn.

I have hope and know we can build a better budget. The House Republicans will be diligent and transparent as the process proceeds forward.