Springfield….First-term State Rep. Patrick Windhorst (R – Metropolis) says he is concerned for the future of the State’s finances after listening to Governor JB Pritzker deliver his first combined State of the State and Budget Address on Wednesday.
“I thought the Governor gave a pretty frank assessment on the State’s financial condition today,” Windhorst said. “But, I was bothered by the fact that the Governor seemed light on details when it comes to really addressing our challenges as a state,”
Governor Pritzker proposed expanded gambling, legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use, and raising taxes on insurance plans to close a projected $3.2 billion deficit for next fiscal year. Pritzker also spent a significant portion of the speech promoting the idea of a new progressive income tax system for the State.
“To me, the speech was clearly meant to paint a bleak financial picture and leave listeners with the impression that there is not any other way to solve our problems than to raise more taxes,” Windhorst said. “I happen to believe that $39 billion dollars ought to be enough to run the State of Illinois. We just raised the minimum wage to a totally unsustainable level, and now we are talking about taxing more products and enacting policies that will likely cause more people to leave the State.”
Windhorst also believes the Governor’s short-term pension bonding scheme will lead to long-term financial problems for the State’s already heavily indebted pension systems.
“With over $100 billion in pension liabilities and debts already owed, skipping a pension payment to pay for more programs is a mistake, and one that has been made before,” Windhorst said. “We won’t solve the pension crisis by kicking the can down the road and shifting the burden to our kids and grandkids.”
“Unfortunately the Governor acting as a sort of ‘promoter in chief’ won’t be enough to change the minds of business owners that are looking for more business friendly neighboring states,” Windhorst said. “Just because there are a lot more Democrats in charge in Springfield does not mean that there’s a whole bunch more money coming in. In fact, with Democrats in total control of the legislature for the last 14 years, Illinois leads in outmigration, property taxes, overall tax burden, unpaid bills, and pension obligations.”