Today’s fiscal year 2019 budget address confirms Gov. Bruce Rauner’s continued slide away from his reputation as a reformer.
Wirepoints’ Ted Dabrowski says, “Gov. Rauner has proposed a far less transformational budget for FY 2019 than Illinoisans need. It’s disappointing to see the man who once promised to ‘shake up Springfield’ now conforming to the status quo.”
The proposed FY 2019 budget has $38 billion in revenues and $37.6 billion in expenditures, leaving the state with a surplus of $350 million.
“The governor had earlier communicated he would begin to roll back the $5 billion dollar tax hike, but his proposal is not concrete. Instead of actually rolling back the hike, the governor has tied a $900 million tax reduction to a pension consideration model that might never happen.
“And missing entirely are the more bold reforms that would halt the growth in pension benefits owed to state workers. Pension benefits owed to state workers grew over 1,000 percent between 1987 and 2016 – eight times more than household incomes. There is no way to fix Illinois finances without getting that extreme growth under control.”
The governor’s budget document does detail reforms totaling $1.3 billion. The governor’s proposal shifts the normal cost of pensions back to school districts and universities, reforms the state healthcare program and asks state workers to pay more towards their healthcare benefits.”
“Gov. Rauner deserves credit for taking on state healthcare costs and giving local governments more power to control their costs. His proposal to shift the normal cost of pensions back to school districts and universities is also the correct move. However, his spending proposal appears to offset the shift with additional funding to education, which negates the effectiveness of the reform.”
“In the end, the governor locks in $37.6 billion in spending – his budget effectively adopts the tax hike. This isn’t the budget Illinoisans want or need. If Illinois is going to keep its people here, grow its economy and bring back jobs, lawmakers must pursue much deeper reforms.”
Wirepoints is available for additional commentary on the governor’s budget address.
For bookings or interviews, contact: Ted Dabrowski,
email@example.com (312) 203-7736