Springfield….According to State Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton), Governor JB Pritzker’s first combined State of the State and Budget Address before a joint Session of the Illinois General Assembly laid out a vision that’s built on a shaky foundation.
“Governor Pritzker sure can give a good speech,” Severin said. “That being said, I favor substance much more over style, and some of the things I heard today were very concerning.”
Severin is referring specifically to Pritzker’s plan to short pension contributions this year for a one-time infusion of cash for State operating expenses. Severin says that plan has been tried already with some dubious results.
“Illinois’ pension obligation is the worst in the country,” Severin said. “Our debt to the pension systems is more than $100 billion in long term obligations. Skipping a pension payment or even shorting the pensions with a Rod Blagojevich-like borrowing and bonding scheme moves us backwards, not forwards on fiscal sustainability.”
Additionally, Severin expressed concern regarding Pritzker’s proposals to raise taxes on insurance plans, e-cigarettes, and to raise revenues from legalized marijuana and sports betting.
“I understand that the Governor is trying to close about a $3.2 billion hole in the budget,” Severin said. “I didn’t vote for the current budget because I knew it was out of balance. I’m not inclined to chase after a bunch of untried revenue stream ideas like more taxes and more gambling without seeing more details than we got today.”
Severin also said he was concerned about the approach that was offered by Pritzker in the State of the State/Budget Address.
“The Governor spent about 5 minutes laying out what a cuts-only budget would look like, and the entire rest of the speech talking about how to raise enough taxes to have enough money to fund enough programs to satisfy the Democrats in the House and Senate,” Severin said. “I would have preferred a more balanced approach than ‘tax, spend, and repeat’,”.