Durkin: New State Budget Delays Fiscal Problems

Burr Ridge, IL….House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said the new state budget for fiscal year 2015 passed solely by Democrats last week overspends revenues by nearly $1 billion, adds to the backlog of unpaid bills, and relies on borrowing to pay for pork barrel spending.

“The good news is that the taxpayers have been spared from higher taxes for now,” said Durkin. “Unfortunately, the irresponsible budget passed by Democrats last week is a step backward from our efforts to get Illinois’ fiscal house in order,” said Durkin.

Democrats initially passed 73 different budget bills that would have increased state spending by $4 billion and relied on the ‘temporary’ tax becoming permanent. A few days later they called a vote on one budget bill that would have imposed draconian cuts on schools and other vital state services before House and Senate Democrats approved the third and final budget.

According to Durkin, Republicans initiated the session by working with Democrats on a bi-partisan revenue estimate of $34.5 billion. A few weeks later, Governor Quinn in his budget address made his request to increase state spending and make the ‘temporary’ income tax permanent. The Democratic leaders quickly endorsed his plan and as the appropriations process went along it quickly became apparent that the Democrats wanted a budget that spends more than the established revenue estimate and would be funded by the tax increase extension. “Bottom line: Republicans held our ground at $34.5 billion, a figure which reflects the expiration of the temporary tax increase of 2011,” said Durkin.

“The state’s backlog of unpaid bill today stands at around $5 billion and unemployment sits at 7.9%. This new budget does nothing to reduce the bill backlog but rather will result in further delays in the future and doesn’t put people back to work,” said Durkin. “This budget also includes $650 million in borrowing from special state funds that at some point will have to be paid back – it’s unclear at this time where the money will come from.”

The budget that passed also includes $10 million for pork projects like $10 million to renovate the Uptown Theatre in Chicago and $35 million to build a grade school in Speaker Madigan’s district.

House and Senate Republicans stood unified against making the ‘temporary’ income tax on families and employers permanent. Durkin warns that the ‘temporary’ tax doesn’t begin to roll-back until January 2015, and Democrats could still vote after the election to make the tax permanent.

“Pressure will mount to pass the tax after the November election. Rest assured, Republicans will remain opposed to making the ‘temporary’ tax increase permanent,” Durkin concluded.

Interested residents are encouraged to fill out a petition opposing the tax increase.