Despite facing a historic budget impasse that has left the state with a $13 billion bill backlog, Democrats in the Illinois Senate are asking taxpayers to increase spending by funding political campaigns, according State Senator Dave Syverson (R-Rockford).
“Illinois hasn’t had a truly balanced budget in years,” said Senator Syverson. “And the problem is this constant push for more programs and more spending.”
Senate Bill 1424, passed by the Senate on May 16th would require the state to fund political campaigns. This would be done by a requirement that the state match all contributions up to $150 with a 6 to 1 match for state races. Some estimates say this bill alone could cost $50 million per year.
“Right now we are trying to negotiate a balanced budget, which requires closing a big gap on what the state can spend,” said Senator Syverson. “Not only is asking taxpayers to fund political ads and smear campaigns wrong, it would spend money that we don’t have, and it makes the budget that much tougher to pass.”
Syverson noted that so far Democrats have proposed new spending totaling more than $1.8 billion dollars. Some of the biggest spending bills include Senate Bill 940, a Medicaid-related bill with a price tag estimated between $264 and $524 million, Senate Bill 508 which would spend $100 million on high speed rail, and Senate Bill 995, which would increase wages for certain employees at a cost of $165 million.
“Everyone knows that until we have a balanced budget, these spending proposals are just empty promises that can’t be funded, and they only serve to make budget negotiations that much harder,” said Senator Syverson. “Making cuts and working on revenue require tough decisions, not more blank checks. We need a budget now, and that means putting an end to these kinds of massive new spending bills.”