Blagojevich budget once again 'robs
Peter to pay Paul'
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[JUNE 2, 2005]
SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Rod Blagojevich's budget
blueprint for fiscal 2006 plays fast and loose with the state's
economy -- spending now and paying later, looting pension systems,
and expanding programs the state can't afford, according to state
Bill Brady, R-Bloomington.
The 44th District senator says he could not support Blagojevich's
fiscal 2006 budget, which was passed by a strictly partisan vote May
31, because it raids funds from downstate and suburban teachers'
pensions to pay for big government, and it mortgages the future of
Illinois citizens for millions of dollars worth of pork-barrel
projects in Chicago.
"The governor has once again robbed Peter to
pay Paul," Brady said. "He has irresponsibly shoved a $30 billion
mountain of debt onto our children and grandchildren at the same
time he has cut funding for education, raided special funds, slashed
funding to road construction, scaled back health care options for
thousands of Illinois citizens and jeopardized the state's financial
stability. This is a budget of deficits, deferrals and decline, not
one of discipline and debate. Illinois cannot afford one more year
of Blagojevich budgeting."
Brady says the working title for the fiscal 2006 budget document
could be "Sweet Home Chicago" because the Chicago coalition of
Blagojevich, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President
Leader Emil Jones have loaded it up with more than $200 million in
new spending for Chicago, including $54 million to bail out the
mismanaged Chicago Transit Authority and $75 million for the Chicago
Teachers Pension system, at the same time the downstate and suburban
teachers pension system is underfunded by $500 million.
Despite strong opposition by Senate Republicans, Blagojevich and
Senate Democrats are also propping up the budget with what amounts
to a payday loan for Illinois taxpayers. The plan to skip more than
$2 billion in pension payments during the next two years will cost
taxpayers as much as $30 billion in the not-so-distant future.
Experts suggest that every dollar the state avoids paying into the
pension system now will cost taxpayers $7 to $13 to repay over the
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The 44th District senator expressed concern about expanding
eligibility guidelines that will make an additional 74,000 adults
eligible for Medicaid coverage through the FamilyCare Program, which
will cost an additional $64 million. Blagojevich has expanded the
FamilyCare program in each of his three budgets, so that a family of
six with an annual income of $51,000 is now eligible for Medicaid
coverage. Brady says FamilyCare is an important program for those
people who need it, but it is hard to justify the continued
expansion when the state cannot pay its bills on time.
Funding levels for elementary and secondary education are lower
by $42 million. Funding per student will increase by just $200, and
$10 million is eliminated for fast-growth grants to help schools in
areas with rapid population growth handle the huge influx of
Brady says Republicans were able to put a stop to Blagojevich's
proposed tax on computer software, as well as a plan to increase two
environmental impact fees on motor fuel manufactured at Illinois'
four refineries and exported out of state.
Fiscal 2006 runs from July 1, 2005, through June 30, 2006.
[News release from
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