A press release from State Senator Pam Althoff:
Althoff reacts to State of the State address
SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Sen. Pamela Althoff (R-Crystal Lake) said Governor Quinn’s annual State of the State speech left her disappointed and wanting for a solid pension reform proposal.
“I’m disappointed in the direction the state has taken over the last decade, disappointed in the lack of leadership that should be coming from the Governor’s office, and I’m disappointed at how those two things combined have severely hurt our businesses and citizens,” Althoff said.
“The speech mentioned several examples of success and reforms that we have enacted, which is great, but yet our state continues to decline.
“Our credit rating is now the lowest in the nation, our pension liabilities grow by $17 million each day, and we have a budget deficit of $5 billion and a backlog of bills at $7.4 billion, despite the highest personal income tax increase in history a couple years ago. We need to focus on the fiscal challenges.”
Althoff said the State of the State address had much of the same rhetoric that it does each year, she felt the Governor failed to propose any real reform of his own, showing a lack of direction that the state desperately needs.
“We must have leadership. It’s what I want to see – leadership and focus. We desperately need it and without it, we aren’t going to get anywhere proposed reforms,” she said.
Equally frustrating to Althoff was the Governor’s support thrown behind increasing the state’s minimum wage to $10 an hour.
Althoff noted that this initiative will either drive businesses away from the state or cause them to close their doors.
She noted that employers will cut back and eliminate entry-level jobs that we need, meaning fewer opportunities for our young people, should minimum wage be increased.
“Apparently, they do not realize that increasing minimum wage will do more harm than good,” she said.
“Illinois currently has the fourth highest minimum wage level in the country.
“Raising it will not create more jobs as the proponents seem to hope.
“We are taking away every opportunity for young people to enter the workforce through our policies, those current and those proposed.
“By examining our business policies in Illinois, it would seem as if we are making every effort to drive away businesses in this state and hinder employment opportunities for all, young and old.”
Althoff called for an end to the unfriendly business policies that Illinois seems to continually enact, noting that other states are our competitors, and stressed her opposition to a higher minimum wage.
“It must stop. We do not operate in a vacuum. We must compete for investment with other states and other countries.
“That will be impossible if our minimum wage is out of line with the rest of the country and we don’t start promoting business-friendly policies.”