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Andersson: “The reality is ‘cuts only’ did not have the votes”

Monday, Jul 3, 2017

* Press release…

Below is a statement from State Rep. Steve Andersson (R-Geneva) on his support of the budget compromise that passed the House on Sunday with bipartisan support.

Yesterday I voted to create a balanced budget for the State of Illinois for the first time in more than 2 years by voting for SB 6 and 9. In addition to reducing spending by approximately 3 billion dollars, we needed to also increase revenue, which required an income tax increase to slightly lower than what Illinoisans were paying in 2014. I did not want to vote for a tax increase, and like my fellow Illinoisans, I do not want to pay a tax increase. However, it was, at this juncture, the only viable option.

Why? Here are the realities that we faced that led us to this place:

    1. If we had not acted, as the bond markets opened today, the State would be downgraded to junk status- the first time for any state in the entire country. “Junk” is more than just a clever name. With a junk rating, most institutions legally cannot buy our bonds. This makes our ability to borrow virtually non-existent which is essential to even keeping minimal state services functioning. Without funding, our universities and community college faced de-accreditation. This would gut our institutions of higher education which not only are commercial drivers in the state, supporting entire communities, but provide education and opportunities keeping our students in Illinois to help build the future of our state. Instead, those students would be uprooted in the middle of their education, and they would have to find alternatives, if that is even possible.

    2. The Comptroller advises that starting in July the state’s cashflow will enter a stage where we won’t have enough money to pay our core bills (these include items such as bond interest payments, state employees’ salaries or anything else) because we will only be paying back due bills. In other words, Illinois will have no money at all for expenditures, and being in junk bond status, no ability to borrow. Further, last week a Federal Judge ordered the state to prioritize payment of back due Medicaid payments to the tune of 600 million dollars a month in addition to everything else we are required to pay. It is not an exaggeration to say that there was the very real possibility that the state of Illinois would not be able to survive this added burden.

Simply put, the state was out of money and about to actually shut down and we were out of time as key financial raters threatened to reduce the credit rating of the state as soon as Monday. Yesterday was the absolute last chance to avoid this catastrophe and absolutely, the last and final resort we had.

Of course, nobody wants a tax increase.

Some have argued to “hold out” and pass a better designed budget with just budget cuts. This would require cutting as much as 45% of anything that was “cutable”. This means police, fire protection, schools, higher education and social services. The reality is “cuts only” did not have the votes. Without the votes, even the best budget will never become a reality. And in this case those votes simply did not exist and would not exist.

So, we were left with two bad choices and only two bad choices. As your legislator, I was sent here to govern and I had to pick the least bad of the two horrible choices. I chose to save the state first and continue to fight for reforms. The other option was to me unthinkable, irresponsible, and immoral. To allow the state to fail was in my eyes, just not an option. If I allowed that to happen, the resulting damage would spell disaster for our state and be decades in the recovery, if at all.

Now as a result of this action, the State can live on. More negotiations can and are happening and we continue to have a chance to improve our state. The other choice effectively ended the State of Illinois. As my friend Rep. David Harris said, I was not elected to preside of the destruction of our great state. That was not an option for me, either - I chose survival for the State of Illinois. And I believe I made the right choice given the circumstances.

* Meanwhile, Rep. John Cavaletto (R-Salem) explained his vote for a tax hike to a local radio station

Cavaletto said the turning point for him came when the Republican caucus was given information on the devastating impact and scary situation the state’s bond rating being reduced to junk status would have on Illinois. He questioned how the state could build itself back from the bankrupt situation and said an increase in the income tax didn’t worry him as much.

Cavaletto said you could have heard a pin drop in the Republican caucus after the presentation.

* You may recall this comment by Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) during floor debate yesterday

“I hate tax increases, hate them, and it will hurt small business to do this, but I also think it hurts small business when you ask them to do business with the state and then you don’t pay them,” she said. “We must have a balanced budget, and if that means that we must increase taxes right now to do it, I, like one of my other colleagues, know I’m probably going to get primaried on this,” she said, referring to the possibility of losing her seat in the next primary election.

“Do I want to raise taxes? Absolutely not. Do I think it’s the right thing to do down the road? Absolutely not. But I want you to remember what we’re doing here today. We’re paying the bills for our bad behavior, even before I came here.”

* Rep. Bryant was asked about that “I’m probably going to get primaried” remark on Will Stephens’ WXAN radio program

“There are a couple of organizations in the state that are extremely far right, and their preference is to burn the place down and then build it back up again, and they are never going to think it’s ok to vote for a tax increase. “

Hmm. I wonder who she might be talk about?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

50 Comments
  1. - Diogenes in DuPage - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 2:06 pm:

    Oh, my God… Four reasoned, non-strident voices who made their point without blaming and naming a political opponent. It’s almost enough to restore one’s confidence in state leaders — at least until one uses his veto and the name calling resumes. Adult behavior — this is why we sent you to Springfield. My legislator, Mr. Breen, are you hearing this?


  2. - Deft Wing - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 2:07 pm:

    These Reps, should they seek to stand for re-election, have earned the primary they will face.


  3. - jake - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 2:09 pm:

    Our situation has improved from “dead” to “critical”.


  4. - RNUG - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 2:11 pm:

    == I was sent here to govern and I had to pick the least bad of the two horrible choices. I chose to save the state first ==

    == you could have heard a pin drop in the Republican caucus after the presentation.==

    == I also think it hurts small business when you ask them to do business with the state and then you don’t pay them ==

    == I want you to remember what we’re doing here today. We’re paying the bills for our bad behavior, even before I came here.” ==

    == they are never going to think it’s ok to vote for a tax increase. ==

    Clear statements of the choice and refreshing honesty from a few …


  5. - Pawn - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 2:13 pm:

    Kudos to these brave and honest legislators.


  6. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 2:18 pm:

    I just wonder which parts of those statements, particularly which factual statements, Proft and the right wingers on this blog can disagree with. As I see their objections, they usually go like this:

    The Dems created this crisis. Until I see more of ______, the state doesn’t deserve a tax increase.”

    But they never can tell us how Steve Andersson/Harris/Bryant, et al are wrong about the consequences should they do nothing. So do they know better and it’s just politics?


  7. - Hexagon - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 2:19 pm:

    Thank you to these Republicans for doing the right thing.


  8. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 2:20 pm:

    DW, way to rebut the points they made. Your knowledge and reason are truly dazzling to behold. You have the goods to be Rauner’s new floor leader.

    The GOP rep. from Murphysboro warns of extreme far-right elements that wish to burn the state down.

    Not a goo-goo Dem from Hyde Park, but a conservative Republican from Murphysboro.

    Give that a think. I suggest we take her seriously.


  9. - Pelonski - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 2:22 pm:

    That quote says it all. The choice was massive cuts, massive tax increases, major cuts coupled with a major tax increase, or let the State fall into a financial morass from which it may never recover. There simply weren’t enough votes for either of the first two options, and for all but the most radical, the fourth option was not viable. That left only the third option as a reasonable solution.

    Of course there are some people you will never satisfy. I have a friend who has been complaining about the State’s failure to pay her medical bills and the Governor’s proposed increase in employee health care costs. She just posted a message from the IPI asking people to email the Governor to request a veto of the tax increase. The politicians are never going to be able to make that type of person happy, so it isn’t worth trying.


  10. - Shemp - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 2:24 pm:

    I get the sensibility, but it is still fair to ask why there wasn’t more compromise on the other side to make changes aka “reform” to get more GOP votes. I get as much as anyone that a tax hike is required. However, essentially status quo and a tax hike is near impossible to swallow.


  11. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 2:29 pm:

    I moved into Andersson’s district and would be happy to walk a precinct for him. Well done


  12. - Porgy Tirebiter - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 2:34 pm:

    It’s nice to hear from the adults in the room.


  13. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 2:35 pm:

    These Republicans have shown exemplary bravery and care for our state. I hope they continue standing strong. The state needs them to follow through all the way on this budget and revenue.

    “The reality is “cuts only” did not have the votes.”

    Some people are delusional about passing a cuts-only budget. It can’t happen politically, and it shouldn’t happen morally.


  14. - Rpett1974 - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 2:37 pm:

    I would be more OK with tax increases if it would have come with immediate (not next election, immediate) terming out of anyone in the legislature more than 8 years.


  15. - Willie - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 2:38 pm:

    Reasonable, rational and truth in their words.


  16. - JoeMaddon - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 2:41 pm:

    **I would be more OK with tax increases if it would have come with immediate (not next election, immediate) terming out of anyone in the legislature more than 8 years.**

    Where is the ability in the CapFax comments for a big giant eye roll emoji?


  17. - Fax Machine - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 2:42 pm:

    When Rauner vetos, we’ll have a chance to see which Democratic Candidates for Governor are real leaders. If they come out and call for Speaker Madigan & President Cullerton to call for immediate override votes, they’ll tell me they care more about this state than scoring political points.

    Somehow I don’t think JB Pritzker will show that leadership but I hope I’m surprised.


  18. - NorthsideNoMore - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 2:44 pm:

    Reason adults acting like Adults…. because they wont be bullied or harassed into apposition solely to get reelected (or not). What a novel concept. Maybe its to much to ask but could 100 more could rise up and do the same.


  19. - Undiscovered country - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 2:47 pm:

    Rep. McDermod nearly had it correct yesterday. But the patient is bleeding out, not stabilized. The tax increase IS the clotting agent. All of the criticisms, including the rants by Ives, can only be addressed if the patient lives, and requiring remedies before stabilizing the patient is foolhardy. Want higher education reform? gotta have higher education institutions to reform. Want pension reform, gotta have employees to negotiate with. What would we call a doctor who refused to save a patient in an ER until he/she could be sure that the dying patient would stop smoking, go on a diet and exercise? That is the situation faced by the no votes and the GOP yes votes. I for one am grateful for the semblance of governing republicans who want to save the village, and then work to improve it, rather then let it burn to the ground with a hope to rebuild a conservative utopia. And to those GOPers who were angered at being cut out of the process, I get it, but again, faced with a burning building, do you pick up a water bucket to help the neighbor who treated you badly or do you let their house (and probably the rest of the town) burn to the ground. Thanks to Steve and David and Mike and all for picking up the bucket, stop the patient from dying or any other metaphor that applies. Sad that avoiding the apocalypse defines courage, but that is unfortunately the culture we live in.


  20. - Capitol View - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 2:49 pm:

    Less than the 30 Republican votes earlier stated as needed. My compliments to these House Republicans and the floor influence of David Harris. Perhaps a few more will join them if the guv vetoes, to show their rationality and sense of government necessity as they repudiate Governor Junk and his IPI.


  21. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 2:51 pm:

    When the Illinois supreme court ruled that the state constitution prevented cuts to state pensions, a tax increase became inevitable. There is no other legal alternative.


  22. - Amalia - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 2:54 pm:

    Hey John McCarron, if you are reading, please write a very simple column on what the State funds and how deep cuts would impact services so people can understand cut, and cut taxes won’t work. there is a deep lack of understanding in the general public on what government funds and that important services can’t work on some money plus air.


  23. - Annonin' - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 2:58 pm:

    While it is good that people like Bryant finally woke up the question is whether she is too late for places like SIUC. Support Gov. “Happy” Junk has needlessly shrunk enrollment and faculty to levels that will be hard to mount a recovery. Scary that she and others have let the destruction happen.


  24. - the Cardinal - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 3:07 pm:

    Finally we got the spend spend spend Tax we need to move the state forward out of the financial quagmire of the past 10 years.


  25. - Gil Franco - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 3:25 pm:

    >>>He questioned how the state could build itself back from the bankrupt situation and said an increase in the income tax didn’t worry him as much>>>

    As nonsensical as his statement is, Cavaletto may want to reuse it if he is around to vote for the next, inevitable tax increase. In fact, something akin to a bankruptcy would allow Illinois to repudiate its ruinous debt. That’s what would allow it to rebuild, not more tax increases in a shrinking state. We should be so lucky.


  26. - SIDen - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 3:29 pm:

    I can hardly wait to vote against Bryant in that primary…..


  27. - atsuishin - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 3:30 pm:

    I am not happy with anderson or his explanation. Why did he and the 15 other repbulicans hold up the budget for 2 years and let it get to this point if he thought a huge tax cut is what IL needs? If pressure from rauner was keeping him from acting on his true feelings why did he run for relection last year? Rauner ran on no more taxes. That’s what I voted for. That’s what I want. Let the democracts try to raise taxes and spending, dont get bigfooted by madigan, don’t betray your base. Anderson actions don’t make sense and he either needs to be forced out in the primary or resign and let someone else come in.


  28. - RNUG - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 3:33 pm:

    == When the Illinois supreme court ruled that the state constitution prevented cuts to state pensions, ==

    Which ruling was that? The 1975 one? The most recent SB-1 ruling? The Kanerva ruling? Or all the intervening ones? It’s not like that snuck up on them …


  29. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 3:34 pm:

    Gil, nowhere in your “solution” do you mention ceasing to sign contracts for goods and services that you have no intention of honoring.

    That didn’t come up in the dorm-room debate club? The backlog of bills has grown by more than $10B since Rauner took office.

    You must be one of those new breed of “fiscal conservatives” who has no problem stiffing vendors for goods and services delivered in good faith.

    Back in the day, you were known as deadbeats.


  30. - SAP - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 3:36 pm:

    Golden Horseshoe voting is going to be a tough choice this year.


  31. - atsuishin - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 3:38 pm:

    ==with a junk rating, most institutions legally cannot buy our bonds. This makes our ability to borrow virtually non-existent which is essential to even keeping minimal state services functioning. ==

    Chicago is junk, CPS is junk they are both able to borrow and are doing so , in spite of their repeated massive tax increases. So there goes that argument.


  32. - Deft Wing - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 3:43 pm:

    Lol, Wordslinger — you have the stuff to serve as Andersson’s spokesman or, at least, a Dem. staffer.

    When Republicans vote for tax increases without reforms, primaries naturally follow. That’s how it works — vote like a Dem and then face the party nominators about your credentials. Watch as Andersson draws a well-financed competitor.

    You new at this?


  33. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 3:46 pm:

    I’m interested as to why folks think it’s fair that income tax on a low wage worker can be raised by almost a third, yet a retiree making five (or more) times minimum wage can stay income-tax free? No wonder a sizeable portion of the residents are singing “Burn, Baby, Burn”.


  34. - Demoralized - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 4:02 pm:

    ==That’s what I want.==

    If no new taxes is what you want then you must be more than happy to watch the state continue to burn. You may not like what they passed, but what they passed is what the ultimate solution is going to have to look like. Spending cuts and revenue increases. That’s the reality.


  35. - Gil Franco - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 4:05 pm:

    Yes, Wordslinger, bankruptcy is an orderly legal mechanism for discharging debt that cannot be paid and that means some creditors don’t get some of what they are owed. It happens every day in America.

    If this tax hike or the ones to come meant that all of the state’s debts could be paid, I would support it. We all know that a declining Illinois can’t raise the income tax rate high enough to pay it all - whether it was originally contracted in good faith or through venal self-dealing. I just happen to think we would be better off restructuring debit sooner rather than later when the higher taxes-fewer taxpayers policy the state is now is pursuing may have pushed the state into terminal decline.

    It appears that you prefer the gimme-mine-now ethos that dooms our future and put the state its sad position to begin with. You’re certainly entitled.


  36. - Demoralized - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 4:11 pm:

    Gil:

    Illinois can’t declare bankruptcy. So your restructuring “solution” isn’t a real solution. Besides, it’s laughable for anyone to suggest that a state, with capabilities to raise revenue, should be able to walk away from it’s debts simply because it doesn’t have the will to pay them.


  37. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 4:34 pm:

    DW, I just noted that you had nothing of substance in response to Andersson’s points.

    You seem to believe that legislators should be unquestioning lackeys of the executive of their own party, like the governor’s previous floor leader.

    Whether Andersson gets or “deserves” a primary is irrelevant to me. I imagine displaying independence and speaking his own mind feels pretty good, though.


  38. - AJ - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 5:45 pm:

    Is the governor making money off of the debt of the State? Is that why he doesn’t care about passing a budget?


  39. - Southern Boy - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 5:47 pm:

    Nothing against Bryant and the worry of the groups that want to destroy Illinois, but her inaction and voting how the gov told her is why we are where we are. She didn’t want to go down as someone responsible for closing SIU-C which happens to be the largest employer in her district


  40. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 5:51 pm:

    –Yes, Wordslinger, bankruptcy is an orderly legal mechanism for discharging debt that cannot be paid and that means some creditors don’t get some of what they are owed. It happens every day in America.–

    LOL, not for sovereign states that cut taxes two years ago.

    Bankruptcy protection for individuals and corporations is meant to encourage productive entrepreneurship by eliminating some elements of devastating risk.

    Of course, as we know here in Illinois, some unscrupulous businessmen have been known to abuse the bankruptcy courts for personal gain.

    For sovereign governments, “don’t wanna pay” is not the same as “can’t pay.”


  41. - Sonny chiss - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 6:20 pm:

    I live in Severens district, come primary time I’ll be donating to a neighboring candidate that has some courage - Bryant.


  42. - RNUG - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 6:34 pm:

    == For sovereign governments, “don’t wanna pay” is not the same as “can’t pay.” ==

    I’ll just note the IL SC said basically the above in rejecting the State’s “police powers” argument attempting to negate the pension.

    Even if state bankruptcy were legal (it isn’t), the courts aren’t going to buy the State’s claim it can’t pay it’s bills.


  43. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 6:39 pm:

    Good point about raising taxes on the people who can least afford it- young working people who frequently have virtually no assets and leaving the wealthy retirees who have benefited from the deficit spending for decades off the hook.

    Senator Cullerton and Speaker Madigan have certainly not left the next generation better off after their 80 years in office in Springfield

    That seems to be fine with their supporters who benefited from this overspending


  44. - walker - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 6:49 pm:

    Let’s clarify a bit. There was no “cuts only” budget (or anything implying it) proposed by anyone in government. Thus there were no votes at all for that approach. Just blather for the public. There was the IPI budget outline. But that attracted no politician’s support either.

    Finally, even after Arduin and other superstar analysis, Rauner was unable to propose a “cuts only” budget. It cannot reasonably be done. Those who keep saying otherwise, are deliberately misleading themselves and others.


  45. - Demoralized - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 7:27 pm:

    Wow L.P. It only took the Governor 2 1/2 years to do his damage. I guess he’s an overachiever


  46. - Chicago 20 - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 7:42 pm:

    -”Cavaletto said you could have heard a pin drop in the Republican caucus after the presentation.”

    I’m thinking that it wasn’t a Chicago Tribune or an Illinois Policy Institute presentation. /s


  47. - atsuishin - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 9:20 pm:

    If no new taxes is what you want then you must be more than happy to watch the state continue to burn. ==

    The state is burning and will continue to burn until job growth starts to happen on a meaningful basis. Unemployment/underemployment particularly among blacks is unacceptable. IL hasn’t even recovered from the dot-com bust while TX, GA, FL and other low tax states are booming. IL needs a radical change: stop focusing on driving up government worker salary/HC/pensions, and instead, drastically role back regulations, cut the state workforce, lower taxes and let business, not the inept government, the new create jobs. ** Mark my words, ** if this tax passes, IL will be back in the same position in five years. hundreds of thousands more people will have evacuated, crime will be out of control in the primate city and unions will be demanding higher salaries for less work. Madigan will call for another HugE tax increase and the cycle will continue until the state resembles Detroit. The trouble with liberalism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money. As IL is painfully finding out.


  48. - CEA - Monday, Jul 3, 17 @ 11:18 pm:

    Mr. Andersson sounds dangerously like a grown-up. He must be destroyed at all costs.


  49. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Jul 4, 17 @ 12:17 am:

    Demoralized I guess you think over 200 billion in unfunded retiree benefits piled up while the Speaker and Senate President have been in office is equal to the 10 billion dollar increase in the backlog of bills in the past two and half years.

    Math is hard for many but not that hard.


  50. - Lynn S. - Tuesday, Jul 4, 17 @ 3:11 am:

    @ atsuishin–

    You’re talking about voting in Illinois, but didn’t you say last week that you had moved to Texas?

    Which state is your primary residence?


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