Of course, he didn't talk about those things. There was enough smoke
and mirrors in the Capitol Wednesday to rival the shows Elvis used
to stage in Vegas.
But that's the bottom line of the plan he glossed over in a
22-minute speech. He didn't talk details, he didn't talk reality,
and he didn't address the major financial challenges we as a state
The best thing I can say about his speech is that he admitted his
proposal to raise taxes on business by more than $6 billion last
year was a mistake. Finally. After all, it got no support in the
General Assembly last year. Not one vote.
But I don't think he has really learned the lesson that higher
taxes on business mean fewer jobs, diminished state revenues and
less financial security for our families.
Yes, the governor proposed a 20 percent tax cut for Illinois
businesses. Sounds good, and I support helping businesses in this
struggling economy by cutting taxes. But that's only half of his
story for business. His one-time savings of $300 million is eclipsed
by the $667 million in permanent new taxes he wants to heap on
business in the new fiscal term. Over two years, business would see
$300 million in income tax savings and $1.9 billion in new taxes.
Overall, that's classic bait-and-switch, and it's a bad deal for
Illinois businesses, workers and families.
He also jumped on the economic stimulus package put forward by
President Bush. The governor would give one-time $300 tax credits to
children. One-time tax rebates may be a good idea; long-term tax
relief when it's affordable is a better idea. But how can we afford
the $900 million cost of this new program when his administration
has $1.7 billion in unpaid bills so far this year? -- and that's the
number from his Democratic comptroller. Again, of course, he didn't
answer that question but wants a fast infusion of one-time money
through the "securitization" of the state's annual tobacco
Instead of using nearly a half-billion dollars in budget cuts to
reduce spending, he's pushing ahead with a $2 billion health care
increase. He wants to sell off part of the state lottery for quick
cash to finance a much-needed capital improvements program and to
pad the budget. That is again an idea soundly rejected last year,
when it got only six votes.
[to top of second column]
He wants to raid special funds to the tune of $300 million so he
can borrow $3.8 billion. He wants to take a holiday from the state's
pension obligations again and issue $16 billion in pension
obligation bonds, saving him from the responsibility of putting an
extra $725 million into our pension system, the most underfunded
system in the country. Again, it's quick cash from the state's top
With his plan Wednesday, he has proposed quadrupling the state's
debt since he took office. When he was inaugurated in 2003, the
state had $9 billion in debt. Today, it's $23 billion, and it would
grow to $38 billion with this latest easy-money scheme.
If his Democratic leaders, Mike Madigan and Emil Jones, push this
budget through, you might was well write out an IOU to your
children, because it's the next generation and the one after that
are going to be paying the bills.
Just remember, the share of our state's total debt is $8,800 for
each man, woman and child in Illinois. And that's on the first day
of this new budget debate, not the last.
My Republican colleagues and I will work in a spirit of
cooperation to resolve Illinois' tough fiscal challenges and help
Illinois families. No one wants a repeat of the gridlock, acrimony
and argument of last year. But we have different priorities.
We believe in fiscal responsibility, and we will face reality.
Illinois must quit spending money we don't have. We must stop new
programs we can't afford. We must tame monstrous Medicaid spending.
We don't need more government by gimmick; we need leadership. Tough
challenges require tough decisions, not get-rich-quick infomercials.
[Text from file sent on behalf of
Sen. Bill Brady
by Citizens for Bill
Click here to respond to the editor about this