Freshmen Central Illinois lawmakers weigh in on Pritzker’s spending plan

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Illinois Capitol(wifr)
Published: Feb. 16, 2023 at 1:22 AM CST
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(25 News Now) - New faces in the Illinois legislature expressed conflicting views about government spending after hearing Gov. JB Pritzker’s priorities in his State of the State address.

Tipsord says Pritzker budget is a “non-starter”

“Pritzker’s proposed $49.6 billion budget is a “non-starter” for State Rep. Dennis Tipsword (R-Metamora), who was elected last November in the 105th District.

Tipsword said Pritzker is following the Democratic Party’s tradition of spending money the state doesn’t have, and it will be families and employers who wind up paying for it.

“In a nutshell, the Governor is using temporary and one-time revenues to justify putting new, ongoing spending programs in place,” said Tipsword in a statement.

“When the temporary revenue sources dry up, taxpayers will again be left footing the bill.” Tipsword added.

He said minimum wage increases, SAFE-T-Act and Reimagine Public Safety Act provisions are examples of programs without a revenue source.

Tipsword also believes some Democrats will be pushing for another referendum to adopt a progressive income tax, which assesses higher tax rates for higher income earners. Illinois voters rejected the idea in 2020.

“Working families are hurting. In my district, families need property tax relief…and we need relief from the estate tax that is destroying family farms. Working families need safety and opportunity…not bigger government and higher taxes,” Tipsword said.

Higher ed, substance abuse treatment at the top of Democrat Chung’s agenda

On the other side of the aisle is State Rep. Sharon Chung (D-Bloomington), elected last November in the new 91st District.

Chung, a former McLean County Board member, said the state is in solid enough financial shape to focus on key spending priorities, particularly substance abuse treatment and higher education.

“Going forward, I will advocate for serious appropriations to end substance abuse and save countless young lives.” Chung said in a news release.

Chung said she’ll work to secure state dollars for a variety of areas in higher education.

“Whether a technical school, vocational school, community college or four-year university, higher education can be the key to success in an increasingly competitive job market,” said Chung.

“So many of these priorities are things that Republicans and Democrats all value. Now we must take a hard look at the specifics in the coming weeks to help ensure it addresses the needs of our community,” she added.

Republican Weaver describes Illinois’ financial condition as “dire”

While Chung offered a positive outlook on state finances, State Rep. Travis Weaver (R-Edwards) claimed Illinois’ fiscal condition is “dire” and remains on an “unsustainable” financial path.

Weaver was elected last November to represent the 93 District.

“We all want to help Illinoisans, their families, and the most vulnerable, but we can’t do that through unfunded programs and mandates, especially at a time when state revenues are expected to decrease by over $1 billion,” Weaver said in a statement.

“Republicans are here to work, and we want to ensure we’re operating within our means, just like individuals and families have to do every single day across our state.” he added.

Weaver said the only way to attract new job creators is to lower property, income and sales taxes, which can’t be done without spending reductions.