Rep. Halbrook: Democrats push through unbalanced budget

The Democrat majority in the House and the Senate have pushed through a budget plan that exceeds projected revenues by $5 billion, according to State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville).

“One would think that the Democrats would learn from the financial realities of the pandemic,” Halbrook said. “Illinois was already in financial dire straits before the pandemic and those financial problems have only intensified. The reason Illinois was in such bad shape going into this crisis was a direct result of spending more money than we had. So here we are right back where we have always been – spending beyond our means. The budget also includes pay raises for lawmakers at a time when hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans are applying for unemployment due to the shutdown of our economy.”

The assumed revenue for Fiscal Year 2021 is $37 billion. The appropriated spending in the recently approved budget is approximately $39.7 billion but the total overall spending is around $42.6 billion, which means the FY 2021 Budget has a deficit of $5.6 billion. To make up for the budget shortfall, the Democrat majority passed a bill to borrow $5 billion from the Federal Reserve. Instead of spending reform, the Democrats are again relying on more borrowing and other budget gimmicks to make their bloated budget appear “balanced.”

“The out-control spending in Springfield is not sustainable,” Halbrook said. “Pension payments alone account for 25 percent of the state budget and yet the Democrat majority refuses to even talk about the substantive reforms we need to get these costs under control. Solving our pension crisis would go a long toward shoring up the budget problems Illinois is experiencing.”

In addition, the Legislature is ceding tremendous power to the Governor to administer the budget. 

“Even worse, Democrats are ceding an enormous amount of control and authority over the budget to Governor Pritzker with practically no oversight or limitation,” Halbrook said. “This is the same governor who has already threatened communities who dare to defy his continued lock-down orders by withholding federal pass-through dollars and the same governor who has failed to get the state’s unemployment claims website fixed.”

Halbrook said the Governor and his accomplices in the House and the Senate are gambling the state’s future on their proposed amendment to the Constitution to implement a progressive income tax in Illinois.

“Voters this fall will be voting on the progressive income tax, which is nothing more than yet another massive tax increase for Illinois residents,” Halbrook said. “The Democrats are banking on revenue from massive tax increases if this Constitutional Amendment is adopted, but what if it does not pass? What if the voters decide they do not want a massive tax increase? What then? Banking on a tax increase that voters could very well reject – and should reject – is putting our state in financial peril. This budget is a sham, which is I voted against it.”