METROPOLIS – State Rep. Patrick Windhorst (R-Metropolis) says Governor Pritzker’s Wednesday Budget Address sounded more like a campaign stump speech than a responsible plan to spend taxpayer dollars for the coming fiscal year. Windhorst is urging his constituents and fellow legislators to consider the reality of Illinois’ financial picture, and to take Pritzker’s self-congratulating speech with a grain of salt.
“Governor Pritzker is running for re-election at a time when violent crime is surging, Illinoisans are the highest taxed citizens in the nation, and Illinois has a multi-billion dollar structural deficit,” Windhorst said. “Of course he is going to try to put the best possible spin on what is, realistically, a very difficult time for the people of Illinois. But, what I heard today was a plea for four more years, not a plan for managing state finances beyond one-time Federal bailout cash. The truth is, big dollars have flowed into the state’s coffers because of high inflation, high taxes, and Federal bailouts.”
Windhorst says a deeper dive into the governor’s proposed budget reveals he wants to spend $2.5 billion more in the coming fiscal year, when revenues are projected to drop by $460 million.
“Passing a spending plan that expands the size of government using one-time Federal dollars will mean big budget deficits for the state when that money goes away,” Windhorst said. “Our citizens cannot afford to be hit with tax increases next year when Federal bailout funds run out. I want to be realistic and honest with the people I represent, and I would urge the governor in the coming weeks and months to do the same. The picture he painted today is quite different than the one we face if we enact a budget that spends more than we take in.”
Windhorst also said he cautions Illinoisans to be leery of big promises from Pritzker.
“After signing off on multiple tax hikes in his first three years, the governor wants us to believe he is now for tax relief,” Windhorst said. “Remember, this governor broke his word on signing legislative maps drawn by politicians on more than one occasion, and went back on agreements he made with Republicans to lower taxes for employers because he was angry that his graduated income tax hike scheme failed,” Windhorst said. “There are serious issues of trust when it comes to Governor Pritzker keeping his word. I would urge my fellow legislators to keep that in mind as we navigate the difficult task of balancing next year’s budget during these difficult and uncertain times.”