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Senate Republicans' response to budget

From state Sen. Bill Brady       Send a link to a friend

[JULY 27, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- The Senate Republicans' commitment to a common-sense budget has paid off in a compromise spending plan that addresses the needs of Illinois citizens but does not drive business and jobs out of the state, according to state Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington.

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.


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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.

The budget comes more than two months after the initial May 21 deadline set by Democratic leaders for passing a state budget.

[From Sen. Bill Brady, 44th District]

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