Suburban Freshman Representative, Allen Skillicorn, is flabbergasted that the Illinois House has not yet voted on a budget.
“We’ve been in session for five months and haven’t voted on a budget yet. The Constitutional deadline is Wednesday at midnight. Why didn’t we debate and vote on this in February? This has been a historic impasse for the past 23 months and an ongoing problem for over 16 years,” said State Rep. Allen Skillicorn (R-Dundee). “I’ve grown impatient of the majority party to craft a balanced budget, so I have taken it upon myself to do so. Today I am proposing a balanced budget with significant reforms and no tax hike.”
NBC Chicago’s Ward-Room reports Illinois House Democrats do not have enough votes to pass a tax increase on their own and House Republicans remain united against a tax hike without substantial reforms. Sunday on the House Floor a Democratic state representative even went so far as to refer to the Senate’s $5.4 billion plan as a “massive tax hike.”
There is a plurality of legislators who are opposed, along with a plurality of voters. On May 23 a poll conducted by Fabrizio, Lee & Associates surveyed 500 likely voters and found that 49% said spending cuts should be the only tool used to balance the budget. 64% oppose raising income taxes.
“Only special interests, not the people want higher taxes. Clearly these poll results show the people oppose this massive tax hike,” said Skillicorn.
After studying the current budget proposals–the Taxpayer Bargain Budget by Republican Senator’s Kyle McCarter & Dan McConchie, the Brady Budget from Republican Senator Bill Brady, and the Senate Democrat Budget that passed on a partisan roll call last week–Skillicorn used vetted ideas from all three and some of his own to craft a balanced budget without tax hikes.
The Right Now Budget by Allen Skillicorn
Skillicorn’s Right Now Budget uses the framework from the McCarter & McConchie Taxpayer Bargain, other previously proposed and vetted ideas, along with some of Skillicorn’s own proposed legislation.
Wanting to include bipartisan solutions, Skillicorn utilized the House Democratic pension plan HB4045, removing the “Consideration Model” from the bill. Skillicorn has also included a repeal of the 2005 Blagojevich workers compensation package, which has resulted in the steady rise of Illinois from the middle of the pack among the fifty states to the fourth most expensive in the nation.
“The Right Now Budget is a starting point. If you oppose the cuts, either draft your own plan or let’s talk. Some proposals, like cutting funds for municipalities, will be unpopular and I would never vote for many of these policies if they were not part of a comprehensive, balanced budget. I would rather vote for the Right Now Budget over a tax hike,” said Skillicorn.
The Right Now Budget is a road map moving forward and conversation starter for solving Illinois’ structural spending problems. It is composed of the following:
I. Pension Omnibus
• Amended HB4045 (D-Currie) remove ‘Consideration’
• K-12 Mandate Relief w pension shift (SB2196)
• Higher Ed pension shift (SB2197)
• Pension Bonds (SB2198)
• Tier 3 401K for all new hires (Drafted)
II. Procurement Reform (SB8)
III. Workers Compensation
• Physician Dispensing reform (HB2892)
• Shift compensation from lawyers to workers (SB1863)
IIII. Local Government
• Home Rule for municipalities of 5000 (Drafted)
• LGDF reduction by 4% (SB2199)
• Local Arbitration reform (SB2200)
V. Debt Restructuring
• Prompt Pay Act (SB2202)
• Sales Tax Collection Reform (SB2023)
• Bonding past due payments to receive the Federal Medicaid match (SB2205)
• Unbalanced Budget Response Act (SB2063)
VI. Human Services
• Medicaid Smart Card Pilot (HB704)
• Prosecution of Vendor Fraud (SB2190)
• Drug Formulary (SB2191)
• 3rd Party Vendor Verification (SB2201)
• Normalization U. of I. Hospital Payments (SB2204)
• Medicaid Redetermination (SB2201)
Skillicorn stated, “The time has come for the General Assembly to stop the partisan bickering and finger-pointing. It is our Constitutional and fiduciary responsibility as the legislative branch to appropriate the finances necessary for the state to operate. We can no longer afford to let one more day pass where our most vulnerable suffer and the education of our children are held hostage as pawns. Illinois is running out of time and money. We must pass a truly balanced budget Right Now!”