After months of negotiation to pass fundamental changes needed to turn around Illinois, Republican lawmakers are working to expand job opportunities, fix a corrupt political system and mend a failing state economy, while Democrat lawmakers are working to pass a budget that is $4 billion out of balance, according to Senator Jim Oberweis.
“Instead of participating in good-faith negotiations with Republican leaders, Democrat leaders have played political games, and are now walking away from the table and falling back on the same misguided budgeting tactics they’ve used for a dozen years,” Senator Oberweis said.
The Democrats’ proposal calls for approximately $36.3 billion in total spending—more than $4 billion over estimated Fiscal Year 2016 revenues of $32 billion. Senator Oberweis said such deficit spending has been a fiscal problem for the last dozen years.
“Thanks to years of tax-and-spend government under former Governors Blagojevich and Quinn, Illinois’ finances are a mess and the fiscal decisions we face are tough at best,” Senator Oberweis said. “The Rauner Administration has made job creation a priority, and his reforms will go a long way to foster an economic climate that encourages job creation and growth in Illinois. It is unfortunate that Democrat leaders appear ready to end the regular legislative session with yet another unbalanced budget, and no structural reforms.”
The Democrat budget proposal comes just days after Republican lawmakers introduced a major package of legislation (SB 884, SB 994, SB 1046, SJRCA 14, and SJRCA 15) that would implement Governor Bruce Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda.
Cosponsored by Senator Oberweis, those bills would:
- Freeze Illinois property taxes: currently the second highest of any state.
o Supports local control: option to increase through local referendum
- Improve Illinois’ business climate: recently ranked third worst in the country
o Workers’ compensation reform
o Lawsuit reform
- Reform State Government: Illinois called “worst-run state in the country” last year
o Constitutional amendment establishing term limits for legislators and executive officeholders: Illinois would join 15 other states with term limits
o Redistricting reform: Constitutional amendment to create an independent commission for fair and balanced districts