Today, new Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker presented his Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Proposal to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly. State Representative Tom Weber (R-Lake Villa) expressed concern that the proposal further exacerbates not only the annual state budget deficit, but the state’s long-term pension debt.
“I’m glad the Governor acknowledged the dire position of the state’s finances, but his proposal not only fails to close the $3.2 billion annual deficit he acknowledged, it fails to address the billions in unpaid bills and adds to the long-term pension debt,” said Weber. “His proposals to close the structural deficit rely on short-term gimmicks, like the one-time sale of recreational marijuana licenses and the expansion of video gaming. Both of which are only expected to generate $259 million and I’m not sold on the idea that introducing these into our communities is a good way to solve our budget problems. By taking this approach, it means this $39 billion proposal is out of balance by $2.6 billion, which also makes it unconstitutional.
“Most surprising though, the Governor proposes to end increased employee pension contributions and extend the ramp funding of the $130 billion pension debt by seven years. Extending the ramp to fund the pension debt is no different than the ‘pension holidays’ used by Gov. Blagojevich that directly contributed to the problem we are facing today.
“Unfortunately, this budget relies on gimmicks and the same failed policies that created the record debts facing Illinois. If past experience is anything to go by, more families and jobs will be driven out of our state and we simply cannot afford that.”