Brady says the fiscal 2005 budget
includes the Senate Republican goals of maintaining a competitive
jobs climate, limiting spending, prioritizing spending and
implementing a new debt responsibility policy.
"Our constituents send us to
Springfield to set priorities and see that sufficient funding is
provided for the state's basic needs -- education, transportation,
public safety. If revenues fall short, we have to make tough
decisions," Brady said. "Putting more financial pressure on business
is not the answer. My Senate Republican colleagues and I are working
for jobs and economic development. A healthy economy means
sufficient tax revenues for schools, roads and police officers."
The fiscal 2005 budget reflects Senate
Republican spending priorities. Elementary and secondary education
receives an additional $365 million, including $3,235,223 more for
44th District schools. University funding is maintained at current
levels, and the governor has signed a "memo of understanding" that
university funding will not be raided during fiscal 2005.
The prisons in Vandalia and Pontiac and
the Illinois Youth Center in St. Charles will remain open. Funding
for road construction and improvements will be restored, thanks to a
provision that will eliminate the governor's raids on the Road Fund
to pay the state's day-to-day bills. The proposed state budget
agreement would also free up $283 million to accelerate more than
100 road projects to fiscal 2005. Senate Republicans also
successfully rejected the governor's proposed cuts in important
programs such as Illinois tourism; the Illinois Council on Food and
Agricultural Research, which promotes agriculture and food products
research; and the Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development
grants that help local governments develop lands for public outdoor
recreation purposes. Nursing homes will receive a 3 percent rate
increase effective Jan. 1, 2005.
[to top of second column
in this article]
Brady says the fiscal 2004 budget was
loaded down with tax increases that are pushing jobs out of Illinois
-- and Gov. Rod Blagojevich wanted more of the same for the fiscal
2005 budget. Senate Republicans were successful in repealing some of
the business taxes passed last year and fought off many new tax
increases that would hurt Illinois jobs, including taxes on business
software, motor fuel for non-road vehicles like road graders and
coal mining equipment, and farmers' seed and chemicals. The
Republican Caucus does support efforts to truly close corporate
loopholes and crack down on foreign tax havens.
The Senate Republican Caucus was also
successful in passing a debt responsibility law that forces
responsible management of state debt rather than a continuation of
the governor's financial schemes that saddle future generations with
staggering debt. Since the governor has taken office, the state's
general obligation debt has doubled to more than $11 billion. Most
of that debt is backloaded, meaning billions of dollars in payments
won't come due until long after Blagojevich is out of office. In
addition, there will be no new bond authorization until a thorough
review later this year. At that time, all new and pending capital
projects can be reviewed as well.
Senate Republicans were also successful
in establishing a task force to study ways to manage the anticipated
growth, and skyrocketing costs to taxpayers, of the Medicaid
program. One suggestion is requiring Medicaid recipients to
participate in managed care health programs, such as many working
citizens choose as a means to hold down costs. This and other
measures would help contain Medicaid costs and ensure that the
system will be viable to help the citizens who need it.
comes more than two months after the initial May 21 deadline set by
Democratic leaders for passing a state budget.
Sen. Bill Brady, 44th District]