Former state Rep. Jeanne Ives, a Republican of Wheaton, argues that Democrats, led by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, are placing all the blame for the state’s financial hardship on former Gov. Bruce Rauner, and that is part of a ploy to cover up their own shortcomings.
“The unrestrained spending, unbalanced budgets and fiscal disaster over the last 15 years, including the Rauner years, are the fault of Democrats intent on protecting the public-sector unions and giving Rauner no wins on policy,” Ives told the DuPage Policy Journal. “Mike Madigan owns this fiscal calamity. He proposed budgets out of balance by $4 billion and $7 billion. His favorite union, AFSCME, stalled contract negotiations and used the court to get its way and continue to be the highest-paid state workers in the nation.”
With just days remaining before he is slated to give his first budget address on Feb. 20, NBC reports Pritzker is clamoring about the state facing a more-than-$3 billion deficit in its next budget year, some 16 percent higher than the figures submitted by Rauner before he left power just after the New Year.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker
While Ives concedes Rauner deserves some of the blame, particularly when it comes to the increased spending he engaged in implementing his new funding formula for education, she says she wonders how Madigan could seemingly be exempt from all critical assessment.
“Madigan blocked reasonable reforms to Medicaid and child care services, which we spend billions on,” she added. “The pension crisis continued to eat up revenues that were put on a ramp from the mid-'90s, and reforms like moving new hires to 401ks were ignored.”
Since his days of being a candidate, Pritzker has touted his plan for a progressive tax to generate more desperately needed revenue for the cash-strapped state, but a new Moody’s Investors Services report advises him to tread carefully.
In a report released Feb. 5, the full-scale credit rating agency said a progressive tax should only be sought if new revenues address pension liabilities and other economic impacts are minimal.