Senator Brian Stewart released the following statement after Governor J. B. Pritzker delivered his second Budget Address to a joint session of legislators February 19 in the House of Representatives.
“Most of what we heard today was not unexpected. The Governor has all kinds of ideas that dramatically increase overall spending and require the Governor’s tax increase to implement. Many of the new programs have merit, but he ignores a simple fact. We can’t afford them.
I have real concerns about a budget proposal that assumes $1.4 billion in new taxes to make it balanced. This budget contains $1.68 billion in NEW SPENDING, but doesn’t outline any of the cuts the Governor asked agencies to provide. New taxes plus more spending without common-sense reforms or cuts to wasteful government programs are not the best ways to prioritize working families.
The annual Budget Address is the first step in negotiating a spending plan for the next fiscal year. Now, we need to get into the details and begin to ask the tough questions. And we want a seat at the table. We are tired of being browbeaten by Democrat leaders who are only looking out for the best interests of their residents, no matter what the cost to the rest of the state.”
As the legislative budget process gets under way, Stewart says he stands ready to work with his fellow lawmakers to make the tough decisions necessary to pass a balanced budget with structural reforms that will boost the economy and jobs.
Fiscal Year 2021 runs from July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021.