State Representative Sandy Hamilton (R-Springfield), responded to the Governor’s State of the State and Budget Address today at the Old State Capitol.
“After attending the budget address this afternoon I have concerns in the Governor’s continued avoidance in making tough decisions on how he spends Illinois taxpayers’ money. Since taking office, Governor Pritzker has signed into law twenty-four tax and fee increases adding up to more than $5.2 billion in extra costs for families and businesses. His total spending has increased about $5 billion, which is 3 percent more during an economic downturn.
We all remember not long ago when Governor Pritzker tried to strong-arm the state into passing a graduated income tax or he threatened massive cuts to services and huge tax increases if it didn’t pass. Thankfully, the people of Illinois rejected the graduated income tax. He then raised taxes on Illinois employers, negatively impacting our job creators and the Illinois economy.
Common sense says that you can’t spend money you don’t have. When the federal government bailed out Illinois with billions of dollars in one-time aid, the governor and the Democrat majority should have used that money to pay back the Unemployment Insurance Fund instead of increasing spending on pet projects. Illinois received $8.1 billion in federal aid through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) alone, but instead of paying back the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund to avoid tax increases to businesses and lower benefits for Illinoisans who need it, the politicians lead by Governor Pritzker increased their own pay and put money towards pet projects in Democrat districts.
The Governor tried to tell us in his speech that everything is great and painting a rosy picture of our state’s fiscal health while ignoring the structural causes of Illinois many decades long fiscal instability. What he’s not telling us, is that this is all temporary, that any change in our state’s current financial situation is not because of good management – it’s the direct result of a massive federal bailout. These federal dollars are temporary and won’t always be there to make Pritzker look good. He promised he will provide property tax relief and then pushed the issue back to local taxing bodies to solve the problem of Illinois having the second highest property tax rates in the country. This proposed budget is another “groundhog day” for Illinois families and taxpayers. The same old playbook of spending more money and expanding the size of government.”