Skillicorn Criticizes Pritzker’s Overdrawn Budget

A press release from State Rep. Allen Skillicorn:

Rep. Allen Skillicorn: Governor’s Budget Writes Checks Taxpayers Can’t Cash

East Dundee, IL – State Rep. Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee) says Governor JB Pritzker’s Budget Address is just more of the same that Illinois residents have heard for a long time.

Allen Skillicorn

“The Governor’s budget writes checks, taxpayers simply can’t cash.

“It spends too much and cuts too little.

“It is time we stop talking about how dire the budget is while at the same time finding new ways to spend money,” Skillicorn said.

“Illinois residents understand there is a budget crisis, but what they don’t understand is why spending continues to go up despite the budget constraints.

“They want fiscal responsibility and unfortunately all the Governor seems to have to offer is more of the same bad policies that have been wrecking our state for decades.”

Pritzker’s budget calls for new spending for the school funding formula, early childhood education, MAP grants and other programs. Pritzker is hoping to tap into revenue generated from legalizing sports betting, marijuana and other sources of new taxes.

“No one in their home life bases their family budget on the possibility of pay increases,” Skillicorn said.

“Most of us base our budgets on the money we know we have – not on the money we think we will have.

“To call this a balanced budget is laughable.

“It is more of the same tricks and gimmicks that have been hurting our state for a long time.”

Skillicorn also took aim at the Progressive Income Tax the Governor is advocating.

“The Progressive Income Tax is being sold as a tax on the rich, but rich people like JB Pritzker can move money to tax shelters in offshore accounts,” Skillicorn said.

“The rest of us are pretty much stuck paying these increased taxes.

“The experience of other states shows us that the Progressive Income hits all tax targets.

“In Missouri, people with incomes as low as just over $9,000 pay taxes in the highest tax brackets.

“People making $9,000 per year are hardly rich.”

Finally, Skillicorn said the Governor is doing the same thing previous governors have done by borrowing against the State’s pension liabilities, which according to Moody’s stands at $250 billion.

“This is about to become the Pritzker pension ramp just the way we had the Edgar and Blagojevich pension ramps,” Skillicorn said.

“Mortgaging the future to pay for current budget items is just plain wrong.

“He is doing the exact same things that got us into this mess in the first place.

“It was wrong when Edgar and Blagojevich did it and it is wrong for Pritzker to do it too.”


Skillicorn Criticizes Pritzker’s Overdrawn Budget — 6 Comments

  1. This statement by Skillicorn is dangerously full of lies and twisting of financial figures.

    This is disappointing to read as at best he is confused and at worst he is being deceptive.

    Please do better.

  2. With the new minimum wage coming up to $15 an hour, a full time worker would make $30,000 per year.

  3. Not much credibility in what the new governor is proposing such as taxing sports betting and marijuana.

    How can we trust a guy who disconnects toilets in one of his mansions to save a huge amount on real estate taxes.

    As is usual in this worst State of 50, we got into this financial predicament because of a majority of low information and stupid voters over many decades.

  4. Just a reminder, that I predicted this Illinois appearance of the Sta-Puff Marshmallow Man, The Destructor, long ago.

  5. **Not much credibility in what the new governor is proposing such as taxing sports betting and marijuana.**

    What does this even mean?

    How do the taxes on marijuana and sports betting now have credibility?

  6. Good pension info here.

    Balanced state budget?

    Not in Illinois.

    No need, just keep spending like a Bowery drunk.

    While many Americans are struggling to save for retirement and employee pension programs, both public and private, are facing lots of uncomfortable realities, elected representatives and senators in the United States Congress still receive envious pension benefits for life.

    Retirement pay for Congress is not normally a big election year issue, but it might serve as evidence of a disconnect between lawmakers and mainstream America.


    The median net worth for a member of Congress surpassed $1 million in 2013, where it remained through 2018.

    This compares to the average American household median net worth of less than $60,000.

    As reported by the Center for Responsive Politics, “it would take the combined wealth of more than 18 American households to equal the value of a single federal lawmaker’s household.”

    Entering 2019, less than 10 percent of U.S. households could be classified as millionaires, compared to more than 50 percent of the members of Congress.

    Congressional members are eligible for their own unique pension plans under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), though there are other retirement benefits available, ranging from Social Security and the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). Currently, members of Congress are eligible for a pension dependent on the member’s age at retirement, length of service, and salary.

    The pension value can be up to 80 percent of the member’s final salary.

    Currently, Congressional pay is $174,000 per year, which, at an 80-percent rate, equates to a lifelong pension benefit of $139,200.

    All benefits are taxpayer-funded.

    Additionally, members of Congress enjoy the same Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) as all other federal employees, which is similar to a 401(k).

    More taxpayer funds are used to match Congressional contributions up to 5 percent per year, in addition to an extra 1-percent giveaway regardless of how much the congressman or congresswoman contributes, if anything.

    Because members of Congress earn far more than the average American citizen, their initial Social Security benefits average $26,000 per year compared to just $15,000 for a middle-class retiree.

    Few private employees have the option to contribute to an employer-sponsored defined benefit pension plan.

    Most have the option to contribute to a 401(k) or 403(b), while others may contribute to an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) or some other retirement option.

    The median benefit for private pensions and annuities is approximately $10,000 per year. For those receiving Social Security and a private pension, median income was between $30,000 and $35,000 per year.

    As far as other retirement assets, research from the Federal Reserve in 2013 found that the median retirement account balance was $59,000 and the mean balance was $201,300.

    How Benefits Have Changed Over Time

    Participation in defined benefit pension plans peaked in the private sector in 1985, when about 40 percent of U.S. workers participated.

    Greater than 80 percent of American employees who worked for large companies in the private sector contributed to a pension plan.

    That rate dropped below 20 percent by 2011, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Between 2001 and 2004, almost one-fifth of the Fortune 1000 closed down or at least froze their defined benefit retirement plans.

    In 2017, defined contribution plans have become more prominent with 47 percent of private sector companies offering them versus 8 percent offering defined benefit plans.

    In the private sector 66 percent of workers report access to retirement benefits and 50 percent report that they are participating.

    Increasingly, American workers are forced to rely on 401(k) plans, individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and Social Security for their retirement.

    Among these, only Social Security provides a guaranteed minimum payment in retirement, and even those benefits seem uncertain, considering the massive unfunded future liabilities faced by the U.S. government.

    Congress did not always receive a gold-plated pension.

    Before 1942, members of Congress did not receive a taxpayer-funded retirement plan and most of them spent the majority of their time away from Washington D.C.

    This early system was quickly scrapped after public outcry, however.

    A post-war pension was put into place after World War II and eventually replaced by FERS in the 1980s.

    The current Congressional pension system has not changed much since 2003, after which all incoming freshmen representatives and senators were no longer able to decline FERS.

    Congress has not voted to increase its retirement benefits at all since the Great Recession.

    However, due to the struggles faced by most individual retirement plans and corporate pension programs, the Congressional retirement package did increase relative to the average American retirement plan.

    During and After Financial Crisis

    Unfortunately, the once-promising 401(k) era failed to live up to its promise after unrealized gains were wiped out by the 2000-2001 and 2007-2009 recessions, though some of the lost retirement wealth from 2009 recovered quickly.

    By 2011, the average retirement account balance increased by 7 percent.

    Those gains were conspicuously concentrated among the wealthiest Americans; approximately 45 percent of workers saw declines in the value of their retirement assets between 2009 and 2011, despite the fact that the S&P 500 grew more than 50 percent over that period.

    This coincides with participation rates for defined contribution retirement plans.

    Per the Economic Policy Institute, nearly nine in 10 families in the top 20 percent of income earners contribute to retirement savings accounts. For the bottom 20 percent, that ratio drops to below one in 10.

    Of course, every member of Congress has several retirement plans, and their defined benefits are not negatively impacted by stock market recessions.

    Congress also has the unique position of determining its own benefits without having to worry about turning a profit — a private company may have to freeze its pension plan or perform a buyout if it experiences balance sheet problems, but the Congress must only appropriate tax dollars.

    Even state and local government pensions are often limited by balanced budget amendments or the tolerance of local taxpayers.

    It is different for federal employees under FERS, because the United States government can conjure up and sell new bonds to the Federal Reserve whenever it needs an infusion of cash.

    his form of monetizing annual deficits does serve as a de facto tax through inflation, though voters rarely make that association. After all, their nominal tax burden does not increase.

    There have been several motions, particularly from a few Senate Republicans, to cut higher pension contributions and change the health care benefits for federal employees since 2008.

    In 2015 and based on the recommendations of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) proposed a $170 billion cut over 10 years as part of a larger deficit reduction plan. This plan and subsequent measures received little support.

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