Ives applauds Rauner's words but rejects tax hike
Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) told the DuPage Policy Journal that while Gov. Bruce Rauner's special session address Tuesday night was filled with nice ideas, he needs to offer a more practical solution to Illinoisans.
“I thought his message was good in that he did not make personal attacks against any particular caucus,” Ives said. “He talked about the high ideals of needing a budget, wanting to fund the things that are proper — that the government should fund.”
But ultimately, the proposal Rauner espoused doesn't do enough, Ives said.
"There is no need for a tax increase in the state of Illinois until we’ve done the structural reform that we have to to prove that we have earned a tax increase," Ives said. "I’m disappointed in going down this path of compromise. It’s not what your average Illinoisans deserve, nor can they can afford it.”
Rauner’s brief statement sought to encourage legislators to overcome partisanship and spur action on a balanced budget during a 10-day special session that starts on Wednesday.
“Right now, our state is in real crisis, and the actions we take in the days ahead will determine how history remembers us,” Rauner said. “We can all do better. We must all do better for the citizens of Illinois.”
The governor called on Democrats and Republicans to support a proposed budget plan that strikes a workable balance, funding necessary services, setting a plan for reducing property taxes, cutting spending, limiting expenses, reducing the debt and setting term limits for elected officials.
The Republican plan would raise $5 billion in taxes to pay overdue bills and fund services, while imposing a hard spending cap of $36 billion. The plan also includes a four-year property tax freeze.
“If we can agree to pass it, this plan will send a message across our state and around the nation that we are serious about making Illinois a more attractive destination for investment, new businesses and new jobs,” he said. “Failure to act is not an option. Failure to act may cause permanent damage to our state that will take years to overcome.”
A key reason for past failure has been House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), Ives said.
“It’s nice to call for unity except when (Madigan) doesn’t want to work together with everybody else," she said. "You can’t actually have unity."
Reaching across party lines is the only way the state can move forward in a positive direction, but the compromise bill is not the solution, Ives said.
"We needed a stronger speech tonight from the governor that talked about the criticalness of getting our policies right, because we can’t go down the same path," she said. "This compromise is the same thing they’ve tried before: massive tax hike and no reforms.”
John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute, agreed, saying in a statement that the compromise “is a mistake.”
“This compromise means your paycheck will get smaller, and the state will continue to spend far beyond its means,” he said. “That is not a compromise. That is a failure.”
He said Illinois must seek reforms as well, because a balanced budget alone won’t be enough..
“It’s time to stand up and demand loud and clear what we want: a budget that dramatically changes our state government, turns our whole state system upside down,” Tillman said. “We need a balanced budget without a tax hike that makes spending for the poor and disadvantaged … its No. 1 priority.”
Pressure is mounting with just 10 days before the next fiscal year starts on July 1. If the state doesn’t pass a budget by then, it could see its credit rating fall further and lose the Powerball and Mega Millions lottery games, according to reports.
It would be the third straight year without a full budget in place.
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