State Sen. Brian Stewart (R-Freeport) released the following statement after Gov. J. B. Pritzker delivered a combined State of the State/Budget Address to a joint session of legislators Feb. 17 via the Internet.
“Nearly a year into a pandemic that has destroyed our economy, Gov. Pritzker continues to run our state via Executive Order with little to no input by lawmakers. Then today he takes to the Internet with a slick video production that offers an explanation for the current State of our State. Guess what, Governor? Lawmakers didn’t need the update because we see what is going on every day in our communities, in the businesses closed, in the jobs lost, in the increasingly frequent food giveaways for struggling families, in the tax revenues lost.
And Pritzker’s so-called balanced budget does not actually pass constitutional muster. Its spending outstrips projected revenues by $1.7 billion, and he is proposing nearly $1 billion in business taxes to cover some of the losses. Is it any surprise that businesses continue to leave Illinois, taking thousands of jobs with them?
Lawmakers have a lot of questions about this budget proposal. Why is money being diverted from infrastructure projects? We need a lot more specifics about the $1.3 billion in ‘spending modifications.’ We are also asking for more accountability. Pritzker needs to take responsibility, and start making the hard decisions that Illinois taxpayers have made in their own lives. And lawmakers must have a seat at the table as those hard decisions are being made. Our constituents deserve better.”
As the legislative budget process gets under way, Stewart says he stands ready to work with his fellow lawmakers to pass a balanced budget with the business and government reforms needed to boost Illinois’ economy and jobs.
Fiscal Year 2022 runs from July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022.