Illinois state Rep. Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City)
For Illinois state Rep. Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City), at least one thing became perfectly clear during Gov. J.B. Pritzker's State of the State address last week in Springfield.
“He’s a multi-billionaire who doesn’t know how it is to live down here in Southern Illinois or to be affected by bad policy,” Wilhour told the South Central Reporter. “I was sitting there at his State of the State address listening to him and kind of thinking, 'He’s living in a different world from everyone else, especially the people in my district.'”
Wilhour says that Pritzker spent much of his speech taking credit for things he’s not responsible for, while avoiding mention of some of the things for which he should be held accountable.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker
“Yeah, it’s true that the economy is booming on a national level, but if you look at the things that the governor has directly enacted here in Illinois, they’ve all been bad for the working people of this state,” Wilhour said. “The gas tax, minimum-wage increase and doing nothing on pensions have all been bad for working people. He’s the reason why this state isn’t in position to take more advantage of all the good things happening on the national level.”
Those sentiments are backed up by a recent report by the Illinois Department of Employment Security in conjunction with the Bureau of Labor Statistics that found that Illinois' job creation lagged far behind the national average in 2019. The Illinois Policy Institute notes that last year marked the state's slowest job growth in the first year of any governor's elected term since the start of Rod Blagojevich's second term in 2007.
“In his speech, he painted this really rosy picture, but the reality is we’re on the wrong trajectory and in desperate need of structural spending reforms,” Wilhour said. “People are not going to stay in state with pension liabilities being what they are because they know, sooner or later, more tax increases are coming. I think the governor is really blowing his chance to be an independent leader who puts the needs of the people ahead of all the special interests.”