Saturday, March 07, 2009
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Sen. Brady: State budget should cut spending, not increase taxes

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[March 07, 2009]  SPRINGFIELD -- With less than two weeks before Gov. Pat Quinn unveils his first budget, state Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, is calling on state leaders to concentrate more on spending restraint and cuts before caving to pressure to increase taxes.

Restaurant"The state's budget seems to be getting more scrutiny early on than in years past; however, the tax increase drumbeat seems to be getting louder," Brady said. "It is imperative that we focus much more on reining in spending instead of asking taxpayers for even more money."

The 44th District senator said he was encouraged when legislative leaders created a bipartisan Committee on Deficit Reduction last month to examine the budget and determine what options there are to address a crushing deficit, estimated to top $11 billion next year.

"The first meeting on March 4 -- focusing on education spending -- quickly revealed a clear difference of approaches to the state's deficit, however," Brady said. "The committee's Democrat members seemed more focused on tax increases and building a case for more government spending. The Republican members were more interested in spending reforms and efficiencies."


Brady said the "tax-and-spend" style of governing is one of the main reasons the state's finances are in such a mess.

"We had an administration whose budgets relied on record-high state debt; a record-high backlog of unpaid bills; financial gimmickry such as leasing the state lottery, pension bond sales and raids from the Road Fund; and continued attacks on business," Brady said. "And look at the result! Generations of taxpayers are going to be paying for the former governor's fiscal mismanagement. It must also be noted that he did not pass these budgets all by himself. Democrat legislative leaders need to own up to their role in the current situation and make the needed changes now."

The senator said most of the policies that led to the current budget crisis were predominantly supported by Democratic lawmakers and predominantly opposed by Republican lawmakers.

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"So many times, Republicans were portrayed as being obstructionists, but look at what we were asked to support," Brady said. "None of the state budgets in that time period reduced spending, even in the face of dire economic warnings. They implemented taxes on businesses and drove jobs out of Illinois. They shorted the state's pension systems and started new programs when we could not pay the bills for the programs we already had. It is interesting that the legislative leaders did not enlist our bipartisan help in creating this budget problem but are asking for our bipartisan help in trying to solve the huge budget problem we now have."

The 44th District senator says strong job growth -- not huge tax increases -- is the only way to address budget woes.

"In tough economic times, when employment is down and more people need state services, we should focus on job growth, not higher fees and taxes," Brady said. "Higher costs for businesses drive jobs out of Illinois. Trying to 'tax-and-spend' our way out of a recession does not work."

Brady is sponsoring legislation -- Senate Bill 61 -- that will return a number of state fees to the levels they were prior to June 2003. The senator has filed the bill several years in a row, but the former Senate president never allowed it to advance. Senate Bill 61 has currently been assigned to a Senate subcommittee by the Democratic majority. Often, legislation that is sent to a subcommittee is allowed to languish and is never considered by lawmakers.

[Text from file sent on behalf of Sen. Bill Brady by Illinois Senate Republican staff]

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