BRADY REACTS TO GOVERNOR’S ANNUAL BUDGET ADDRESS
On Wednesday, March 6, Illinois legislators including State Senator Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) listened to the Governor lay out his proposed 2014 budget in his annual Budget Address.
“Over the last five years Illinois has found itself in a leadership vacuum wherein little-to-no progress has been made to tackle the major fiscal issues facing the state,” said Brady. “Governor Quinn has attempted to solve Illinois’ fiscal crisis with a double secret fix of increasing taxes on Illinoisans and Illinois businesses. We’ve experienced rising bill backlogs, growing pension debt, and a tax increase that I see no indication will be able to expire as originally designed.”
In considering places where savings could be passed on to the taxpayers Brady said, “Meaningful, substantial pension reform should be a top priority. While the Governor continues to advocate for pension reform, he fails to lead on the issue.”
Brady also criticized the Governor’s plan to cut $308 million in funding for elementary and secondary education. “There are most certainly other areas of the budget that could be reduced and other reforms that could be passed that wouldn’t be detrimental to the children of this state.”
“Illinois is in crisis and when you reach crisis stage in the business world, you adjust your business model and streamline,” said Brady. “The Governor has taken a different tact and wants to add an additional 2,800 government jobs. Since he has been in office Illinois has lost 290,000 jobs at an impact of $4.5 billion on Illinois’ economy. Governor Quinn’s remedy has been to increase taxes on business and put the burden of state debt on the only true creators of sustainable jobs in Illinois.”
The Governor’s Budget Address is just the start of the process of crafting a budget. During the remainder of the spring session, budget bills will be introduced in both the Senate and the House as legislators work to create the budget that will ultimately dictate spending for the 2014 fiscal year.
“In the coming months my Senate Republican colleagues and I look forward to working together with the Governor and other legislative leaders to craft a budget that we believe can reduce spending while still providing adequate funding for programs like education.”
For detailed staff analysis of the Governor’s budget click here.
GAMBLING EXPANSIONS PASSES COMMITTEE
During the Budget Address Governor Quinn opened the door to expanded gambling in Illinois and within hours, supporters had pushed a major gambling bill through the Senate’s Executive Committee and cleared the way for a vote before the full Senate. The proposal would authorize a casino in Chicago, open the state up to Internet gambling, allow slot machines at horse racing tracks and allow four new casinos or riverboats in cities outside Chicago.
The proposed gambling expansion is contained in Senate Bill 1739 and includes the following major provisions:
- Chicago Casino: Creates a "Chicago Casino Development Authority," which would be granted a license for a 4,000-position Chicago casino. The Authority would be run by a five-member board appointed by the mayor of Chicago and vetted by the Illinois Gaming Board. The Authority would also be able to offer slot machines at O'Hare and Midway airports.
- Internet Gambling: Authorizes Internet-based gambling, including Internet poker. Internet gambling would be limited to persons older than 21 and wagers could be accepted only within Illinois.
- Slot Machines at Horse Tracks: Allows for electronic gambling, including slot machines, at the state’s six racetracks – Arlington Park, Hawthorne, Maywood, Balmoral, Fairmont and Quad City Downs.
- New Riverboats/Casinos: Authorizes four new riverboats or casinos in Rockford, Danville, Lake County and Southern Cook County. Each would be allowed up to 1,200 gambling positions.
- Campaign Contribution Ban: Prohibits gambling licensees (including terminal operators from video gambling) and their affiliated entities (includes horse racing associations) from making political contributions to officeholders and candidates for the following offices: State Constitutional Officers, General Assembly, county or municipal officeholders and candidates where a gambling facility is located or proposed, and county or municipal officeholders and candidates where the county or municipality receives gambling revenue.