“Skipping pension payments, borrowing new debt, raising taxes, increasing spending - it’s clear that J.B. Pritzker is the new Rod Blagojevich. Pritzker’s unbalanced budget proposal is more of the same, failed policies that got our state into the mess it’s currently in. Illinois taxpayers cannot afford to return to the budget deficits and failed policies of the Blagojevich era. Pritzker pledged to deliver a balanced budget, and he failed.” - Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider
Today, Governor J.B. Pritzker gave his first budget address where he outlined his first, and probably not last, unbalanced budget proposal. In his speech, Pritzker advocated for a return to the same, failed budgeting that got our state in the mess it’s in:
Skip pension payments, $800 million a year for the next seven years
Madigan and Blagojevich supported a plan to skip pension payments
Issue $2 billion in new pension obligation bonds to make up for skipping pension payments
Madigan and Blagojevich supported a plan to issue pension obligation bonds
Increase spending by hundreds of millions of dollars
Levy new taxes
Theoretical graduated income tax, could not be enacted unless voters approve referendum in fall 2020, and Pritzker still refuses to release rates or revenue projections, yet Pritzker promises it will pay for everything - from pensions, to property and income tax cuts
Enact statewide plastic bag tax
Legalize recreational marijuana use, tax sales
Legalize sports betting, tax winnings
Increase video gaming taxes
Phase out the bipartisan Invest In Kids tuition tax credit scholarship program for low-income schoolchildren
Shorting the pension system $800 million a year might be the most irresponsible proposal from Governor Pritzker’s FY2020 budget. Pritzker's decision to skip pension payments will cost billions of dollars more down the road. This is the exact opposite of what Pritzker pledged he would do during his campaign for governor. Last year, Pritzker told the Crain’s Editorial Board that the state should increase, not decrease, yearly contributions to the state pension systems.
Furthermore, Governor Pritzker’s spending plan relies on tax revenue the state has not yet received. It will take years to enact a theoretical graduated income tax, yet Pritzker is already committing that revenue to new projects. Pritzker's budgeting is reckless and fiscally irresponsible.
It's clear - J.B. Pritzker is the new Rod Blagojevich. Illinois taxpayers cannot afford to return to the budget deficits and failed policies of the Blagojevich era. Pritzker pledged to deliver a balanced budget, and he failed.