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From Sen. Bill Brady

[FEB. 21, 2004] 

Despite fiscal crisis, governor increases spending again

For the second year in a row, Gov. Rod Blagojevich has introduced a budget proposal that increases general spending by more than $1 billion, despite his claims that Illinois faces a multibillion-dollar deficit.

And unfortunately, the governor's budget plan also once again targets business.

Blagojevich outlined his budget proposal for fiscal 2005 to a joint session of the General Assembly on Feb. 18. Fiscal 2005 runs from July 1, 2004, through June 30, 2005.

As lawmakers, we must set priorities and make sure the state's basic needs are met -- education, roads, nursing homes. We must also take care not to increase financial pressures on the businesses that provide the jobs and pay the taxes that fund so many state programs. Our solution must focus on job growth.

Apparently the governor does not agree. Blagojevich's budget plan will eliminate an additional $321 million in tax incentives for businesses -- an approach he took last year that has wreaked havoc on the economy. An independent statewide survey shows that 16,000 jobs and more than $120 million in Illinois business investment have been lost as a result of the business fee and tax hikes implemented as part of the governor's current state budget.

My Senate Republican colleagues and I are working for business, jobs and economic development. We are watching carefully for legislation or policies that may be detrimental to business and doing what we can to quash those efforts or lessen their impact on jobs and the business climate in Illinois.

Senate Republicans object to separate capital budget address

For the first time ever, the budget plan presented Feb. 18 by Gov. Rod Blagojevich reflects only the operating portion of the state budget. The capital spending portion of the budget and the governor's plan for borrowing in the next fiscal year will not be revealed until late March.


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Last week, Senate Republicans objected to Blagojevich's move to extend the deadline for presenting his budget on state-funded construction projects. Legislation (Senate Bill 1913) extending the current deadline from the third Wednesday in February to the fourth Tuesday in March was approved Feb. 10 -- without our support -- and signed into law Feb. 11.

Delaying the proposed capital projects budget will give the process a political taint by allowing the governor to make decisions on capital projects pending in legislators' districts based on the votes they have cast during the spring legislative session. Because the capital projects budgeting process would be done behind closed doors, no one would see how the allocation of capital funds was politicized.

Spaulding rest stop "no man's land" status must end

State Rep. Bill Mitchell and I have joined together to end the "no man's land" status of a rest stop in the village of Spaulding.

The Illinois Department of Transportation has essentially abandoned this 4.1-acre tract of land, and the village of Spaulding would like to have it. That doesn't sound like much of a problem, but we've had trouble getting IDOT to move on the project.

Current law allows IDOT to sell property to another government entity, such as a village, for a nominal fee of $1, but the public entity must use the land for a public purpose. In this case, Spaulding officials want to use the abandoned rest stop to build a new village hall. I can't think of a more public purpose.

Rep. Mitchell has filed House Bill 3849, which would require IDOT to convey the property to the village of Spaulding for $1. I will sponsor the bill in the Senate.

IDOT doesn't need or want the land and Spaulding does. It's really that simple. There's no reason why IDOT shouldn't convey the land.

[News release from  Sen. Bill Brady]

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