A press release from State Senator Pam Althoff:
Senate Week in Review: End of Session
SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Senator Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry) said Illinois legislators wrapped up the spring session last week, passing a budget that although did not include making the temporary tax increase permanent, still spends $857 million more than original revenue projections would permit.
For months Illinois Democrats painted a picture of draconian cuts if they kept their promise to allow a portion of the 67 percent 2011 tax hike to expire.
Then in the final days of the 2014 legislative session, they reversed course and passed a budget without those tax revenues.
In fact the budget they assembled managed to find money to increase spending, create earmarks, unidentified lump sums and a variety of other questionable allocations with no doomsday scenario or draconian cuts they predicted would happen.
Taxpayers can breathe a temporary sigh of relief, but no one should be under the impression that this “no tax” budget is in reality anything close to a responsible budget that forces the state to live within its means.
This budget, like in many years past, spends more than the state will collect in revenue and pushes bills past the next election.
The FY15 budget is based on a revenue estimate of $35.352 billion and the total General Revenue Funds spending of this year’s budget is approximately $35.4 billion – allowing the Democrats to call the budget “balanced.”
Unfortunately, the budget continues the pro-ration of the state’s General State Aid Formula’s foundation level grants for schools, giving schools just 89% of the foundation level.
In fact, since Pat Quinn became governor, education funding for the state’s elementary and secondary schools has fallen by $621 million (FY 09 – FY 14).
The General Assembly also passed a capital construction measure that will bring several shovel-ready projects to the 32nd Senate District, Althoff said.
A total of 11 projects have been proposed including resurfacing, additional lanes and intersection reconstruction. The majority of the money allocated to the 32nd District for road projects will go to improvements of U.S. Route 14.
Althoff said that many of these projects have needed to be addressed for several years and was pleased that the areas would see these improvements in the upcoming fiscal year.
Althoff mentioned that four days before the end of the legislative session, the Senate spent an hour debating regulations on home kitchens and lemonade stands.
The measure would have placed undue burdens and regulations on baked goods from home kitchens and possibly even reach to regulate lemonade stands. The amendment introduced in the Senate drastically changed the House version of the bill and failed to pass the Senate as amended. The legislation ultimately passed however after the Senate sponsor withdrew his amendment.
Althoff noted though that the legislation was indicative of the standard attitude of
- tax and spend
- overregulation and
- stifling of business
that is pervasive in Springfield.
While the extension of the tax increase has been stopped for now, Althoff said Democrat legislative leaders have made it clear that their intentions are to eventually extend the income tax increase some time after the election.
For now, Althoff said taxpayers can look forward to their tax rates decreasing in January, keeping the promise that was made to taxpayers.