Senator Brady said Democrat leaders insisted that increasing taxes would not affect jobs but in the ensuing year, a number of high-profile employers threatened to leave Illinois. Tax incentives have been passed to retain the employers – and jobs – but the state unemployment rate has still reached double-digits and was 16 percent above the national average in November.
Illinois’ credit rating has also been downgraded once again by one major credit rating, while the others have issued warnings that future credit downgrades could occur. These poor credit ratings will cost taxpayers millions of dollars in higher interest rates on state debt.
Democrat leaders also pushed the tax hike as a way to pay a staggering backlog of bills and resolve the state’s financial problems. Yet, at this time, the Governor’s Administration estimates a $7 billion bill backlog, while the Comptroller believes the backlog could be as high as $8 billion.
And although they claimed the tax increase would be largely repealed in four years, Democrat leaders have continued to spend as though the increase will be permanent. In fact, last week, Governor Quinn released budget projections showing that instead of generating a surplus, the Fiscal Year 2012 budget still spends more than state takes in. In fact, according to the Governor, Illinois will still see a $500 million shortfall at the end of this fiscal year – not including $2 billion in deferred obligations.
Senate Republicans have a viable alternative – a “Reality Check” budget plan that they offered last March. The proposal contains a menu of more than $6.5 billion in spending cuts and revenue generators that would enable the state to bring the budget into line with available revenues.
“We need true reforms, controlled spending and good fiscal management. The Senate Republican ‘Reality Check’ plan will help us accomplish those goals and set our state back on a more responsible path,” Senator Brady said. “The current system clearly is not working – it hasn’t for years and is the basis for the dire financial conditions we now face. We need to chart another course before it is too late.”