This op-ed from State Representative Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) appeared in the Chicago Tribune.
If I were a teacher who had to grade Gov. Pat Quinn’s budget address, I would take my red Sharpie and send it back to him marked “incomplete.”
Quinn’s speech to lawmakers at the Capitol in Springfield Wednesday echoed the delusions of his State of the State address last month. The most important piece of a budget address is the numbers and Quinn’s were completely wrong.
Quite frankly, the governor’s budget is dead on arrival in the Illinois House. On Tuesday, the House adopted resolutions agreeing on a projected revenue estimate of $35.081 billion for fiscal year 2014, an increase of $1 billion over the current year’s revenue projections. We need to budget within that limit, keeping in mind the $1 billion additional pension obligation.
Quinn declared Wednesday that the state budget is $35.6 billion. In the days preceding his speech, multiple sources were reporting that the number the governor was working with was $34.9 billion. I just want to know what happened in those few days that made an addition of $700 million necessary?
I would circle that number with my Sharpie and write, “Check your math.”
Furthermore, while Quinn gets points for effort on pension reform, it was arrogant and misinformed for him to state, “Send me a comprehensive reform bill …” as he stood at the podium with House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, both Democrats. These men know perfectly well that, with their supermajority in the General Assembly, they could have passed any reform they had the guts to stand behind.
I would draw the governor’s attention to the pension reform bill that Rep. Tom Morrison, R-Palatine, and I have put forth, and ask for his support. Our plan immediately reduces the unfunded pension liability by half and gives government workers the secure retirement they deserve. The plan returns $7 billion to taxpayers by repealing the 2011 state income tax increase and forces Illinois to live within its means.
Lawmakers do not serve the people of Illinois by lying to them about the state’s fiscal reality, which is a harsh truth. Budgeting games and gimmicks are unsustainable.
Illinoisans were looking for real leadership from Gov. Quinn on Wednesday, but all they heard was further misrepresentation of our state’s fiscal reality.
As a citizenry, we need to take out our collective red pen and send Quinn’s budget address back marked “inaccurate, unacceptable, do over.”
State Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, represents the 42nd District.