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Local Lawmakers react to Illinois budget address

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Illinois Governor JB Pritzker is proposing a budget of roughly $85 billion for the next fiscal year with major investments in education, pensions, and healthcare.

But some, including some local lawmakers, say this budget won't deliver on all of its promises unless Illinois voters say yes to a graduated income tax this November.

While Pritzker's address held a message of unity and optimism, lawmakers say there is a lot to be done.

"Now the real work begins with the appropriations committees in the Senate and the House." said State Rep for the 105th District, Dan Brady

He shares many of the concerns of his fellow Republicans. That being much of Pritzker's funding for programs, such as a number of education initiatives, is based on the graduated income tax being passed.

"Without that graduated income tax coming through and proposing dollars it's going to blow a big hole in what is the revenue side of projection which concerns me then the tax side of things will rear its ugly head." said Brady

On the democratic side State Senator Dave Koehler said Pritzker met his constitutional obligation to have a balanced budget.

"It wasn't a doomsday budget, I mean he was saying that this is a responsible way for us to look down the road in case the constitutional amendment does not pass." said Koehler

With Illinois State University in Brady's backyard, funding for higher education holds high importance, but not at the cost of new taxes.

"They proposed to keep that 5% increase, roughly 3.2 million, more in the operations budget, that's good, but we have to get to the bottom line of how we're paying for that." said Brady

Koehler showed support for the proposed $100 million for the rainy day fund over the next 16 months.

"Heavens knows we needed it a few years ago and we didn't have it there. I think he did a good job of laying out a very hopeful very optimistic what we can expect the next year in Illinois." said Koehler

Many lawmakers have released statements with their reaction to the address.

State Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) said in part: " I’m pleased to see the governor’s proposed budget include important priorities such as meeting the minimum requirements for school funding. However, an overall $1.6 billion increase in spending is not realistic, and holding schools and others hostage while voters consider his tax hike is irresponsible."

State Sen. Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria) said in part: “The Governor presented a spending plan full of promises based on a hope for passage of $3.6 billion in new taxes; this proposal follows last year’s budget with its 19 new taxes.  At some point there has to be an end to adding new taxes when Illinois is already one of the highest-taxed states in the nation. "

State Representative Ryan Spain (R-Peoria) said in part: “The Governor’s message to legislators tasked with constructing a state budget was clear– voters must approve another damaging income tax increase or budget cuts and service reductions will be imposed throughout Illinois. This is not an appropriate strategy for crafting the state budget."

A full transcript of the Governor's address can be found here.

Kaitlin Pearson

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