* I have to run some errands for a bit, so I’ll be back later this afternoon. From WJBC…
On Wednesday, Gov. Pritzker unveiled his 2021 budget proposal, which did not include a tax hike. However, Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) said the speech did have unnecessary rhetoric.
“First of all, I was stunned at the harsh partisan rhetoric that I heard from the Governor in his budget address. I can’t point you to another budget address for which the person standing at the microphone took so many just over-the-top rhetorical political swings at Republicans. And for me, I’m a guy who worked with this Governor over the years. I mean, I’ve broken with the party and worked with him to try to forge bipartisan agreements.
“For him to make those attacks, I think, were totally unjustified. I think the public is fed up with that level of rhetoric, and they expect more. I tell you, I expect more out of all of us, including the Governor.”
* The allegedly offensive language…
Two months ago I asked Republicans in the General Assembly for their proposals to close this year’s budget deficit. I was met with silence. Apparently their idea of bipartisanship ends when hard choices must be made.
I won’t pretend that these tough decisions don’t have a human impact, because we are operating within one of the most bare-bones government infrastructures in the country. While the right-wing carnival barkers have used our state as a laboratory to undermine essential public investments, the fact of the matter is Illinois state government spends less money per person than the majority of states in this nation.
Twenty years ago Illinois had about 30% more employees than it does today. We had 40% more Illinois State Police to protect the 58,000 square miles of our state. Our Environmental Protection Agency had nearly 60% more people protecting our air and water. And state government’s share of spending on education has steadily dropped to the lowest in the nation – leading your cities and your counties and your school districts to impose suffocatingly high property taxes in order to maintain quality public education. Government cannot be bloated, but it must have the resources to provide for the needs of our state’s residents. […]
For decades, Illinois has been forced to send billions more tax dollars every year to the federal government than we receive back from them in support of our citizens. Federal spending is rigged against Illinois. We’ve been subsidizing public services for other states, like Iowa, Kentucky, Indiana, and Missouri.
You deserve better. I’m fighting for better. Congress must act decisively, and I urge every Illinoisan to add their voice to this demand. So far, not a single Republican Congressman from Illinois has supported you getting back what you paid for. If not in a national crisis, when will they stand up for us? Now is the time.
Let’s be clear. Congressional action will help us today, but it won’t solve Illinois’ remaining fiscal challenges. That’s why any money we receive from the federal government needs to be spent wisely, by paying down borrowing and our bill backlog. Anything remaining must be used to invest in expanding jobs and economic growth. More jobs, more businesses, more economic activity – means a higher standard of living for our citizens, a healthier budget and a healthier state government.
* The Question: Was the governor’s rhetoric justified or unjustified? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please…