While Illinois’ seemingly unending budget “battle” continues, I have remained hopeful that cooler heads would prevail and true compromise would occur. I feel it important for everyone to know what is truly going on in state government.
Let me just say that I WISH there was a budget “battle” being waged right now, but the reality is that there aren’t even discussions going on. There are public political battles happening on the floor of the Illinois House, pretending to be the budget. These are solely designed to create political mailers next year that say I don’t care about grandma, childcare, or heating assistance for the poor; which couldn’t be further from the truth.
Let’s be very clear that the votes that have been taken have only served to drive a larger wedge in budget talks with a governor who has said he is willing to help raise revenue as part of other reforms (not requiring all of his agenda). The response from the Speaker is that raising taxes is the only thing that has anything to do with the budget.
If the Speaker and his super-majority don’t think that the economy, jobs, and an entrenched political class have anything to do with the budget they haven’t been paying any attention for the last 40 years.
We have lost over 300,000 manufacturing jobs just in the last decade. Those workers were taxpayers and our middle class! We continue to lose taxpayers to surrounding states, exacerbating our problems.
To anyone who believes that just passing a tax increase will fix our problems, let me say that 2 years ago, with the full 5% income tax increase, the majority party was still threatening cuts to programs. These are the very programs listed above that they pretend to be fighting for.
The fact is that the Speaker and his super-majority can do anything they want without the governor, including pass their budget and their tax increase. Instead they are wasting time pretending to be held hostage by this governor.
I am a realist who understands that the state has immediate needs and things don’t happen overnight. That means it’s more important than ever to start now. If we change nothing, we get exactly what we’ve already got.
The reality is that having No Change leads to large or yearly tax increases combined with continued cuts and uncertainty… a sad future for Illinois.
If that’s what you want, here’s another Illinois “IOU” to add to the $8 to $12 billion stack in 2016.
Compromise is a two-way street and I am ready as soon as the Speaker removes his road block.