Eighteen new legislative proposals representing the “Taxpayer Bargain” budget were filed April 26 by State Sens. Kyle McCarter and Dan McConchie.
“These new bills, coupled with some pending legislation, make up a unique balanced budget plan that doesn’t punish taxpayers for the sins of the current or past legislatures. This plan would balance the state budget without new or higher taxes. It also begins to hold state government accountable to live within its means, just like every Illinois family and every small business,” said McCarter (R-Lebanon).
“This budget proposal shows that we are being honest with taxpayers. We are showing them that living within our means will be difficult but possible,” said Sen. McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods). “Unfortunately, other budget proposals we have seen start by asking taxpayers for more of their money. Our proposal starts the conversation with what it would look like to only spend what we are currently taking in.”
The package covers public pension reform for lawmakers, state employees and educators. It seeks to unburden local schools as well as colleges and universities from unfunded mandates and other regulations that drive up costs, and it includes reforms to save tax dollars by reducing government spending, implementing government reforms such as township consolidation and providing more autonomy for smaller communities with home rule authority.
Other government reforms include changes to the state’s Medicaid program to ensure greater accountability and better value for the billions of taxpayer dollars that fund Illinois’ most costly program. An additional legislative measure allows short-term borrowing to pay off old bills, thereby eliminating hundreds of millions of dollars in extra penalties and fees that add to the burden borne by taxpayers. There are other measures that create a statewide property tax freeze for education and give the Governor more authority to manage spending to meet challenges going forward.
“If Illinois is to get its fiscal house in order and not be a burden on our children and grandchildren, we must be ready to change ‘business as usual’ in Springfield,” said McCarter. “The ‘Taxpayer Bargain’ is a cultural change. It won’t be easy, but it must take place. I admit it would be easier for the vast majority of lawmakers to simply pass another tax increase, tell the people of Illinois they balanced the budget and go home at the end of the spring session, but the tax and spend policies and practices of the past are exactly what gave us today’s budget crisis.”
“For years, taxpayers have been demanding fiscal responsibility and it’s about time we give that to them. This budget proposal is the first that reins in government spending, and is something we need to approach on a bipartisan basis,” said McConchie. “Let’s start the conversation with making spending reductions a priority, and let’s focus more on where we can cut rather than how much we can take from Illinois taxpayers.”
The Senators said the “Taxpayer Bargain” is medicine for a very sick state – a real and practical way to make government more affordable and accountable to the taxpayer. The proposal was created with input from both Republican and Democrat legislators, and it includes pending legislation sponsored by members of both parties. The Republican Senators first unveiled the “Taxpayer Bargain” proposal on April 4. They have worked to finalize the legislation and seek cosponsors during the past two weeks. Details of the ‘Taxpayer Bargain’ are available on the Taxpayer Bargain website at www.taxpayerbargain.com.