This week I will focus on Governor Pritzker’s Budget Address and my reaction to his spending plan. On Wednesday, the new Governor gave a combined State of the State and Budget Address. The Governor is a comfortable and capable public speaker and delivered a very professional address. However, as I dug in to the details, I had a mixed reaction to several of the proposals.
I was very happy to see that the Governor put education funding as a top tier priority. A good education is the foundation for future success, and it is critical to our success and our economic prosperity that we adequately fund K-12 schools and Pre-K programs. The Governor has also proposed a 5% increase from last year for higher education. I am very proud to represent folks that both work and go to Rend Lake, John A Logan, Kaskaskia, and Shawnee Community Colleges as well as Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
These institutions of higher education act as great economic engines for our communities. They offer good paying jobs and an excellent educational experience and they all have their own strengths. One area that I hope the Governor will work with Southern Illinois is in increased investment in vocational education. This investment is greatly needed in our state to help people that want to work to find better paying jobs right out of school. But, I am significantly opposed to several of the Governor’s ideas for new taxes. The fact that there are several proposals to raise taxes is enough of a concern, but some of the items he is proposing are truly ridiculous.
Examples include a new tax of .05 cents per plastic bag at the grocery store, a tax on insurance plans, a new .33 cent tax on cigarettes, and a brand new tax on e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine. It is my opinion that $38 billion in projected revenue should be enough to run the business of the State of Illinois. The Governor’s own budget to run his office is going to shoot up by $7 million as opposed to the previous administration. There are cost savings to be found as opposed to simply taking the approach to raise any and all kinds of taxes.
Multimedia Reaction to Governor’s Budget Address
WXAN Radio – Will Stephens Show – https://soundcloud.com/radio-will/terri-bryant-2-21-19 You can hear my reaction to the Governor’s budget address in a wide-ranging interview I had with Will Stephens of WXAN Radio in Ava on Friday by clicking the link above.
My video taped reaction in the Illinois House gallery is available above and on YouTube.
Press Release: Bryant says Pritzker’s Budget Address Hits Some High Notes, Some Low for Southern Illinois Springfield…State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) offered mixed reaction to Governor J.B. Pritzker’s first combined State of the State and Budget Address on Wednesday. Bryant says she was encouraged by several of Pritzker’s talking points, but remained seriously concerned by a couple of the Governor’s major proposals.
“Governor Pritzker is probably one of the more comfortable public speakers I’ve seen,” Bryant said.
“Today, I thought he gave a pretty honest assessment about where we are as a State, but that doesn’t mean I agree with all of the ideas he has to solve our financial challenges.”
Bryant says she was encouraged by the Governor’s focus on increasing funding for public education and for higher education. Governor Pritzker proposed a 5% increase in funding for higher education and also a $50 million increase for MAP grant funding.
“The line items the Governor has proposed for higher education and MAP grant funding were definitely encouraging after the difficulties we have experienced recently,” Bryant said. “I will have to carefully study any and all spending plans throughout the rest of the Session but I am hopeful that SIU and the community colleges that I represent will receive a bump.”
In reaction to Governor Pritzker’s cost savings plan on pension contributions, Rep. Bryant was less optimistic.
“I think taking a trip back in the Rod Blagojevich pension holiday time machine is bad public policy,” Bryant said. “We’ve seen time and time again that skipping pension payments to pay for current operating expenses is bad fiscal policy. It only increases the costs for future generations.”
Bryant says Prtizker used today’s speech to kick off what is likely to be a two-year campaign to get a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot that would allow for a graduated income tax, or a progressive tax hike.
“House Republicans have stood firm against a progressive tax hike,” Bryant said. “We believe $38.5 billion is more than enough to run the State of Illinois. Instead of expanding social programs with shaky revenue gimmicks and relying on phantom revenue estimates on things like legalized weed and sports betting, I believe any new spending should be directed to help shore up our pensions and pay down our backlog of bills.”
SIU Lobby Day Comes to Springfield
What a great experience for some of our SIU Carbondale students to come to the Capitol during the Budget Address. Shortly after the speech, the Governor took time to meet with the students, and even put on an SIU C hat to pose for pictures. Thank you to Senator Schimpf and Senator Fowler for being there as well! GO Salukis!
You can read about the lobby day efforts by visiting the link below: https://thesouthern.com/news/local/siu/just-after-budget-address-pritzker-meets-with-siu-carbondale-students/article_41a47aa5-43f8-584a-9248-42ccc25005a8.html
Stay Connected! My office in Mt. Vernon is open Tuesday through Friday and my office in Murphysboro is open Monday through Wednesday and Fridays from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM. You can also contact me directly through the Contact Form on my website at www.repbryant.com or at email@example.com