Windhorst – Democrat FY 24 Spending Plan Reflects Wrong Priorities

SPRINGFIELD – House Republican Floor Leader State Representative Patrick Windhorst (R-Metropolis) cast a no vote on an FY 24 Illinois budget early Saturday morning. Rep. Windhorst says the $50-plus billion spending plan is a reflection of Democrats supporting the wrong priorities at a time of economic suffering for Illinoisans.

“Our citizens are struggling under the weight of inflation, record food, and energy prices, and high-interest rates. Life as an Illinoisan is already too expensive, and the FY 24 budget passed by Democrats will, unfortunately, ratchet up the pressure on middle-class working families,” Windhorst said. “This budget relies on the expiration of tax breaks for food, fuel, and medicine, gives the governor unprecedented power to manage Medicaid, and prioritizes undocumented immigrants over Illinois citizens. In other words, this budget is built on tax hikes on food, fuel, and medicine. That is wrong.”

A major sticking point in budget negotiations between Democrats has been the exploding cost of Medicaid healthcare for undocumented immigrants, with lawmakers and the governor disagreeing on who has the power to manage the program.

“In the end, legislative Democrats did what they have a history of doing, and that is turning over their responsibility to the governor and giving him unprecedented power to manage Medicaid through administrative rulemaking and executive orders,” Windhorst said. “This represents an abdication of responsibility that is reminiscent of the COVID-19 pandemic where Democrats refused to participate as a co-equal branch of government and left all the decisions to Governor Pritzker. That didn’t work out too well for Illinois families, and this action on Medicaid is likely to turn out the same for all taxpaying citizens.”

Windhorst says House Republicans were shut out of negotiations on the budget by supermajority Democrats.

“The Democrats went off on their own and refused to negotiate in good faith. If I was at the table, I would have been arguing for permanent tax relief, the restoration of Invest in Kids scholarship funding, and the rejection of politicians’ pay raises,” Windhorst said. “As long as the Governor and Democrats continue to abuse this process, shut out the other party, and insist on raising taxes and raising spending, they will alone bear the responsibility for the further degradation of our state’s finances and the continued outmigration of citizens from the State of Illinois.”

Windhorst voted against both the budget and the budget implementation plans. The budget passed the Senate on Thursday night, and the House on Saturday morning after midnight. The spending plan is headed to Governor Pritzker’s desk and he is expected to sign the measure.