LAWMAKERS WANT MORE INFORMATION ABOUT BUDGET
The Governor’s annual budget address is scheduled for February 16 and my Republican colleagues and I are looking forward to receiving more detail about the Governor’s fiscal proposal for Fiscal Year 2012.
We are particularly interested to see if the Governor will advance the budget cuts and reforms Illinois needs to reduce the state’s massive deficit.
Members of a Senate budget committee were frustrated February 8 by the lack of information about Quinn’s upcoming budget and the failure of the Governor’s chief budget officer to appear before the committee to answer questions.
With the budget address fast approaching, little has been revealed about the Governor’s plans. Committee members also criticized representatives from Quinn’s office for being unable to offer details on the Governor’s claims that he has cut state spending by $3 billion.
SERIOUS CUTS STILL NEEDED
Even with the Democrats’ recent 67 percent income tax increase, the state must make serious cuts to spending in order to address the budget deficit. Illinoisans will likely face a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall in five years if spending isn’t reduced. Senate Republicans explained that spending “caps” – passed last month by Democrat officials as part of the income tax increase legislation – are so generous that they will not actually reduce or control spending.
We are anxious to see if Governor Quinn will adhere to the requirements of “budgeting for results” legislation recently approved in the General Assembly that requires the budget message to outline a spending plan based only on funds actually available to the state. In the past, Governors have often built their proposed budgets using taxes or other revenues that they were asking for, but which had not passed. This allowed Governors to submit overly generous budgets and then blame legislators for “cutting” the budget when those tax hikes or revenue increases did not materialize.
DEADLINE FOR FILING LEGISLATION IS FEBRUARY 10
Senate lawmakers also worked to file their legislation by the February 10 deadline.
GOP lawmakers are once again pushing legislation to make additional Medicaid, pension and ethics reforms. Senate Republicans are also advancing changes to the state’s Meritorious Good Time prison program, measures to add additional oversight to personnel changes at state agencies, and legislation that would eliminate the vast number of state task forces and commissions, while making it more difficult to create many of these bogus entities.
I have filed a number of bills and will be providing more in-depth information about them in coming weeks.
SENATE HONORS RONALD REAGAN
On February 10, the Illinois Senate acknowledged the centennial of Ronald Reagan’s birth.
The Senate adopted Senate Resolution 48, which honors Reagan’s youth in Illinois, his career in motion pictures, his military service, and his service as the Governor of California from 1967 to 1975. In particular, lawmakers praised his Presidential legacy of leadership, optimism and prosperity.
February 6 marks the centennial of the birth of Ronald Reagan, Illinois’ only native-born president. Born in Tampico on February 6, 1911, Reagan spent his formative years in Illinois –growing up in Dixon and graduating from Eureka College before traveling west to explore a career in broadcasting and acting.
As the two-time governor of California (1967-1975) and President of the United States (1981-1989), Reagan was a clear and decisive voice for many of the priorities Republicans continue to fight for today: lower taxes, a smaller and more responsible government and individual freedom.
SENATE HONORS RETIRING SENATOR
Also on February 10, retiring Senator Brad Burzynski of Clare was recognized by his Senate colleagues with a resolution on the Senate floor.
Senator Burzynski served as a State Senator since 1993, and was a member of the House of Representatives from 1990 to 1993.
The 35th District Senator is a respected advocate for education, well-known for his efforts to increase access to higher education and improve the quality of education in Illinois’ elementary and secondary schools.