Budget crisis called a 'complete failure' in politics
District 49 Senate Candidate Michelle Smith said voters are not being represented in Springfield, as evidenced by the Illinois legislature's inability to pass a balanced budget before recessing for the summer.
“Gov. (Bruce) Rauner said it best when he described this as a failure,” Smith told the DuPage Policy Journal. “Not having a budget and not passing any education bills will continue to harm the local school districts and our children. I agree with the governor that this is a complete failure.”
Public schools and services face a future in which they may have to close their doors due to lack of funding. The budget standstill and uncertainty has already scared away businesses and families.
The budget proposed by Democratic House Speaker Mike Madigan, which was passed by the House on May 25, would have reportedly increased the tax burden on families by an extra $1,000 a year, would push back government bill payments by nine months and was $7 billion in the red. The budget failed in the State Senate on May 31, the last day of the spring legislative session.
Smith said the situation is a disgrace.
“It is shameful that our legislators cannot seem to understand that they are hurting the citizens of Illinois in so many ways,” she said. “They need to put politics aside and work together. School districts will not be able to stay open in the fall without some sort of education funding.”
This negligence has also led to a Chicago pension dispute between Gov. Rauner and lawmakers.
Lawmakers in Springfield overrode Rauner’s veto of a law that would give Chicago 40 years, instead of 25, to get its public safety pensions to 90 percent funded. It would also reduce this year’s required contribution to the public safety pensions by $220 million. Rauner claims that the law would cost taxpayers in the future and allow Chicago to reduce its pension payments.
Smith pointed out that this is another example of lawmakers not heeding the needs of voters.
“It’s obvious lawmakers are more interested in politics rather than the people,” Smith said. “For those Republican lawmakers who felt they did not want to increase the taxes on Chicago taxpayers, the result is a tax increase on everyone else to bail Chicago out of gross mismanagement.”
Taxes have always been a sour subject in Illinois, which has some of the highest in the nation. A recent report from Truth in Accounting concluded that Illinois has $213 billion in bills, but only has $26 billion available to pay those bills. This means Illinois still needs $187 billion for bill payments. For taxpayers, this equates to $45,500 per Illinois taxpayer.
Not only is this not fair, but Smith said it is harmful to the struggling middle class.
“Democrats say Rauner’s ideas hurt the middle class,” she said. “I will simply ask is there anything more detrimental to the middle class than owing more in state taxes than what a lot of the middle class folks make in a year?”