Gov. J.B. Pritzker proposed his $1.6 billion budget, which heavily relies on getting his increased income tax proposal approved, before the General Assembly on Feb. 19, but has been receiving negative responses from Republican lawmakers.
“Gov. Pritzker has proposed $1.6 billion in new spending predicated on a new tax increase that will harm those I represent in the 54th District,” State Sen. Jason Plummer (R-Vandalia) said in a press release. “The problem isn’t a lack of revenue. The problem is a lack of fiscal restraint.”
Others accused Pritzker of holding back school funds when he called for $350 million for the school funding formula. This formula would make it so some money for education goes towards the state's poorest districts.
“This bullying tactic to hold funding to our schools hostage – and our students – in order to get his way is not only irresponsible but presents a false choice,” Assistant House Republican Leader Avery Bourne (R-Morrisonville) told the Chicago Sun Times.
Bourne said putting $150 million of school funding in reserves was a way to help the governor's political agenda. The budget shouldn't have included spending, she said, but let voters approve an amendment if they want what Pritzker proposed.
"To hold hostage funds unless you pass this proposal (graduated income tax), to me is not right and that's also not acceptable," Sen. Steve McClure (R-Springfield) told The State Journal-Register.
Illinois doesn't need more taxes, Rep. Tim Butler (R-Springfield) said to The State Journal-Register.
"We don't need a tax increase," Butler said. "I think we can live within our means at $40 billion. We're doing it today, there's no reason we can't do it six months from now. I think the governor's desire to raise taxes on people is driving his pushing up of spending in Illinois. We need to hold the line of what we've got right now. People are taxed very much in Illinois when they look at the overall burden. Raising people's income tax is not the way to go."
McClure is also opposed to the budget proposal, stating that the government isn't sacrificing anything, yet taking more from residents.
"My initial reaction is $1.6 billion in new spending and it's always incumbent upon the taxpayers. The governor says pass my tax proposal, which is going to raise taxes on people and yet there's no cuts in what the government is spending," McClure said. "To add all this new additional spending and say it's incumbent upon the taxpayers to pay for this new stuff with higher taxes and yet the government doesn't make any sacrifice, that to me is very hypocritical."
Plummer said Illinois needs fiscal responsibility. He also said the governor is recklessly spending.
During his budget proposal, Pritzker said previous administration caused "years of poor fiscal management." He said his budget would help solve the money issues the state has.
When Pritzker was running for governor, he released an ad claiming his opponent delayed school funding. Republican lawmakers now see Pritzker as being a hypocrite.
“He spent a large part of his budget address attacking the previous general assemblies and the previous governor for the exact same tactics that he is now using,” Bourne said to Chicago Sun Times.