Brady Responds to Governor’s Budget Address
Illinois Legislators, including State Senator Bill Brady (R-Bloomington), gathered in the Illinois House chambers on Wednesday, March 26 to hear Governor Quinn deliver his delayed budget address.
“What we heard today was a speech from a Governor who seems unconcerned with the facts. Three years ago Governor Quinn misrepresented this ‘temporary’ tax increase, and now he’s breaking his promise,” said Brady. “I didn’t hear anything in the Governor’s speech about how we are going to address unemployment in Illinois. Our rate is a full two points above the national average. Currently only Rhode Island has higher unemployment. What we need to do is reduce the tax burden on businesses and families, and create jobs so people want to stay in Illinois.”
Governor Delivers Delayed Budget Address
On March 26, Governor Pat Quinn used his budget address to push for a permanent extension of his 2011 income tax hike. In the speech, Quinn painted a dire picture of severe cuts to state programs if the 67 percent income tax hike is not made permanent.
According to Senator Brady, ever-changing and cherry picked numbers with wildly divergent predictions on the true fiscal state of Illinois undermine the credibly of the Governor’s argument. Many have raised doubts that the promised phase-out of a portion of the tax hike would be as catastrophic as tax hike advocates claim.
Republicans said Quinn is shifting budget figures to substantiate his claims, just as he cherry-picked economic statistics to try to make his management of the state’s economy look better.
During the budget speech, Quinn attempted to paint a rosy picture of the state’s economy under his watch. It was an image that sharply conflicts with what many Illinoisans are experiencing in a state that now has the second highest unemployment rate in the nation.
Under Quinn Illinois has seen its poverty rate climb by 20%. The state has been cited as having one of the poorest prospects for job growth in the coming year, has been cited by moving companies as a state where more people are moving out than moving in and currently holds the worst credit rating of any state in the nation.
While the Governor claimed to have cut spending, Illinois is actually spending more than at any other time in its history.
Critics say Quinn has a long history of questionable credibility. They point out that when Quinn approved the tax hike in 2011, it was after breaking a pledge to reject any increase above 1 percent and to require that all tax dollars go to education.
This year’s budget address was delayed by more than a month because Quinn asked for additional time to submit a detailed five-year budget plan to the legislature. However, when the budget address came, his vaunted five-year plan consisted of just two single-page spreadsheets.
Lawmakers pointed out that the Governor painted a “doomsday” picture of what the state would suffer if the tax increase were allowed to expire as promised, and then laid out a budget with massive new spending proposals and giveaways if the tax hike is extended. They wondered how the state could afford such lavish spending, if the budget situation were truly as tight as claimed.
Extending the Tax Hike; Broken Promises
Since the tax hike was implemented three years ago Senator Brady has cautioned that without significant spending cuts, the tax would never be temporary as taxpayers were promised. According to Brady, after years of frustration and ignored warnings we are now seeing the consequences. Taxpayers are now being asked to accept a permanent tax increase because of mistakes made by the Governor and his legislative allies.
When the tax hike was adopted, the Governor and legislative Democrats promised it would:
- Pay off old bills– it didn’t;
- Generate jobs— it hasn’t;
- Improve Illinois’ credit rating—it didn’t.
In fact, the bill backlog is still in the billions, and Illinois lags behind its neighbors and peer states in economic growth. Of note:
- Illinois has a bill backlog exceeding $6 billion—despite 2011 assurances by Democrats the tax increase would be used to pay down that backlog and get the state’s fiscal house in order.
Illinois has the worst credit rating in the nation—the state has received 13 credit downgrades during Quinn’s tenure, more than all other Illinois Governors combined.
- Illinois has the second highest unemployment rate in the nation—higher than any neighboring state and higher than any comparable state;