Springfield….State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) issued the following statement at the conclusion of Governor Bruce Rauner’s second State of the State Address before a joint committee of the General Assembly today.
“Today, Governor Rauner took the opportunity to remind Illinoisans that despite the fact that significant challenges remain, major progress on important areas of reform have been made since he took office just a year ago. He noted that more children are moving from state sponsored facilities to foster homes and that our system of tax credits for businesses has been changed to reward job creation.
I was pleased to hear the Governor mention that he will renew his efforts to push reforms to the workers’ compensation program, term limits to stop career politicians, and a fair process for drawing legislative maps.
I was proud to be a part of a bipartisan effort last session to close a $1.5 billion budget gap created by the unbalanced budget passed by the Democrats that control the General Assembly. We were able to balance the FY 15 budget without borrowing or raising taxes.
We’ve also made important changes to our unemployment insurance program, and we have taken steps to start reducing our prison population and save taxpayer dollars by reducing recidivism and reforming penalties for non-violent offenders. These measures will save our taxpayers money and drive value for their tax dollars.
The State of Illinois has been digging its financial hole for more than a decade. There are many indicators of this. Illinois has a $6 billion budget deficit and $6 billion in unpaid bills. There are realities that have to be faced here, and raising taxes alone will not fix our problem. Illinois is worse off financially now than it was before the “temporary” income tax was implemented. Reforms to the way state government spends money are necessary if we want to improve our financial condition.
Finally, I believe the Governor struck a bipartisan tone today when calling for compromise. Hopefully, the financial picture laid out by the Governor today would lead even his staunchest opponents to recognize that the old way of doing business has broken our state. We simply cannot continue to do business in Illinois the same way we have over the 30-plus years Speaker Madigan has controlled the General Assembly.”