The 44th District Day's activities were capped with an early-evening reception at the Pasfield House Inn, an 1896 Georgian-style residence, located west of the Capitol, that has been designated a Springfield Landmark.
QUESTIONS REMAIN ABOUT BUDGET
With little more than two weeks before the scheduled May 7 adjournment deadline, questions remain about the Governor’s Fiscal Year 2011 budget proposal, which is regarded by many as less of a “plan,” and more of a “wish list.” Once again, Quinn is advancing a proposal that lacks significant spending cuts, and relies on tax increases and massive borrowing.
The Quinn administration is touting $2.2 billion in budget cuts that Republicans say do not exist, and he’s purposely ignoring mandated spending increases tied to his plan, including $1.3 billion in education cuts he never intended to implement; $400 million MAP shell game; $300 million local government’s share of income tax; and $400 million in required spending for debt service on his pension and tobacco securitization bonds.
When you add it up, the real cuts amount to $200 million, but the governor has not identified where he plans to get those cuts. However, looking at his record, it’s likely Quinn will be reluctant to make real cuts in spending. Last year, the governor said he would make $1 billion in budget cuts, yet implemented a Fiscal Year 2010 budget that was actually $1.2 billion more than what he had pledged. Quinn has on many occasions advocated for cuts and then immediately backtracked; now he’s counting cuts that don’t exist, and which he has no will or intention to implement.
The Governor is also assuming a 33 percent tax increase—the largest in the history of the state—and he wants to impose $700 million in new taxes on consumers and employers, including $231-$316 million in recycled Blagojevich-era tax hikes that were previously rejected by the Legislature, and $50-$55 million in Blagojevich-endorsed tax hikes that were enacted by the General Assembly but later repealed. Also included are $80-$190 million in new taxes on consumers, including a tax on downloading music and video, as well as a $200 million cigarette tax increase. But, as has become common with Quinn, once the new consumer taxes became public, he quickly tried to distance himself from his own proposal, declaring Thursday that the download tax was simply a suggestion and claiming he was never in favor of the tax.
Borrowing is also back on the table, with Quinn hoping to borrow an additional $6 billion. This includes $3.7 billion in pension bonding and a $1.35 billion “pay day loan” against tobacco proceeds. He’s also expecting to borrow $1 billion from state special funds.
PROGRAMS TO HELP CONSUMERS
The Economic Opportunity Division at the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office has programs to help consumers with issues such as:
• Home ownership and how to obtain non-predatory loan financing.
• Programs to assist in reducing interest rates on business and community development loans with help from our Link-Deposit Programs.
• How to find out if you have a part of the over $1 Billion in funds in Unclaimed Property owed to you and how to claim it.
• More information on Link-Deposit Programs for persons with disabilities, military personnel, Illinois veterans, and bank micro-loan program information.
• College savings programs available for you and your children.
For more information, check out the Treasurer’s Office Web site at http://www.treasurer.il.gov or call 217/782-6540.