From the office of Rep. Tom Cross, Ill GOP House Leader…
Governor Pat Quinn is giving his State Budget Address on Wednesday. Here is what I hope to hear from him:
First and foremost, no more new spending. The Governor is expected to propose $1 billion in new spending – this simply is not acceptable. Tackling the budget this year will require even less spending than last year.
No raises for state employees or elected officials. Soon the Governor will be entering contract negotiations with union leaders, with billions in unpaid bills we simply cannot afford raises this year.
No more borrowing. I expect Governor Quinn will again propose a multi-billion dollar borrowing program which will not be viewed well by our state credit rating agencies. We cannot afford to borrow.
We are also looking for concrete proposals on how we improve our business climate and create jobs. Last years’ Democrat tax increases have driven jobs out of Illinois. The Governor needs to admit this failure and take a different approach. Unfortunately, what we expect is for him to propose more taxes on business instead of proposing further reforms to our outdated workers’ compensation systems.
I will be listening for specific proposals on Medicaid, retiree healthcare, and pension reform. These are our largest and fastest growing budget items. The Governor needs to step up and lead on these issues.
Democrat Governors like Jerry Brown of California and Andrew Cuomo of New York are getting the message. While I may not agree with everything Governor Brown is doing, at least he is showing some leadership by offering a pension reform proposal, is pushing for the consolidation of state agencies, and is calling for higher co-pays and limits on physician visits and moving Medicaid recipients into managed care programs.
Last year Governor Cuomo made significant cuts in New York’s multi-billion dollar deficit. This year he is proposing to eliminate $2 billion more from the deficit without new taxes, fees or borrowing. Governor Cuomo also created a Medicaid Reform Team that implemented reforms saving $600 million in the first six months. They aggressively sought and secured federal waivers for 20 reforms with 32 more pending. Though Illinois passed meaningful Medicaid reforms over a year ago, the Quinn administration has secured no federal waivers.
And let’s not forget, the Democrat-leaning Rhode Island has led the charge on meaningful pension reform.
Will Governor Quinn follow the example set by other Democrat Governors who are turning their states around? We will find out on Wednesday.
We will be providing reaction to the Governor's address on our Facebook page, #capchat. Like us and join the conversation Wednesday afternoon.
IL House Republican Leader Tom Cross