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Governor rebuffs Rep. Crespo’s worries of future fiscal cliff

Wednesday, May 29, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Democrat Rep. Fred Crespo has been warning his colleagues all spring about sponsoring bills that cost money without providing the funding. Last night, before voting no on the revenue omnibus, he warned fellow legislators last night of future budget issues…

“We have all these other pressures. So where do we go? There’s really only one place we can look at getting these revenues, and that’s taxpayers. And at this rate, ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to run out of taxpayer dollars to spend. Now, I’ve heard some say that a budget is a moral document. Sure is. But I also would argue that we have a moral obligation to look after taxpayers.”

* Ben Szalinski



* Hannah Meisel asked the governor today about Rep. Crespo’s remarks

Hannah Meisel: Before Fred Crespo voted no on the revenue package he stood up and said I’m a Democrat but you know, this makes me worry, I think that next year we are going to be facing this cliff and we’re going to be asking even more of taxpayers. Can you respond to that criticism?

Governor Pritzker: Well, every year we start the year with challenges looking ahead. What are we going to do in the next year? How do we pay for the necessary things for working families across Illinois? And we spend the year working through that until we get to the budget address in February. And then there are months for the legislature, who already are aware of many of the things that are in the budget before I actually introduce it, for them to debate it for months until May.

And so it’s hard to say why somebody would all of a sudden wake up and decide that the budget isn’t quite right for them, but you’d have to ask him.

Hannah Meisel: [Some legislators] mentioned that we would have to ask for a service tax or an increase in income tax.

Governor Pritzker: Every year, particularly Republicans say things like that. They say, ‘oh, we’re careening toward a brick wall.’ It hasn’t happened. Six years in a row, we have balanced this budget, and we have made sure that we’re thinking about and lowering costs for working families every time we put a budget together. So I’m pleased with how the budget ultimately came out. Six years of balanced budgets for Illinois that’s a record.

Thoughts?

       

24 Comments
  1. - vern - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 12:04 pm:

    Crespo has been regularly speaking on the floor all session reminding colleagues about the dangers of creating new programs subject to appropriation. I highly doubt the Governor’s characterization of him “suddenly waking up.”

    Obviously the end of this session was a mess, and there’s plenty of blame to go around. But Pritzker’s attitude displayed here is definitely one factor. There’s no good reason he should be surprised about Crespo.


  2. - Joe Bidenopolous - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 12:10 pm:

    Crespo ain’t wrong. This was the first time Welch had a tight budget and uh, let’s just be nice and say it wasn’t smooth even with 78. Next year likely to be much tougher, especially if the members can’t be managed.


  3. - Cool Papa Bell - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 12:17 pm:

    I have no idea about a “fiscal cliff” but I do think taking a year off of always finding new ways to spend money and otherwise holding things “steady as she goes” would a remarkable display of governing.

    But I’m a person and not an elected official. So I appreciate Crespo’s stance and time will tell who’s comments will age the best.


  4. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 12:17 pm:

    ‘oh, we’re careening toward a brick wall’

    Who actually voted to take Illinois smack into the brick wall? That would be those who voted “no” on yet another budget. The message in repeated budget rejections is that extreme damage like in the Rauner era is preferable to a full budget and the state properly functioning.


  5. - JS Mill - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 12:23 pm:

    =Now, I’ve heard some say that a budget is a moral document. Sure is.=

    Crespo is right to be concerned.My same concern with the more progressives is similar to Crespos. To date the governor has done a great job with state finances and I think he will continue to be fiscally responsible, but there are those in his party that see the state as an endless source of money and that government is and should be the solution to all problems. I think government can help but there are limitations.

    To his comment on the “moral document” I agree that is is, but many on the left see that as it applies to some but not all.


  6. - RNUG - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 12:29 pm:

    Sounds like Crespo is trying to be the adult in the room, looking ahead multiple years, instead of just one year at a time.

    Will his concerns become real? I don’t know, but I do know when I do financial planning, I always plan / budget for the worst case scenario.


  7. - Ducky LaMoore - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 12:35 pm:

    Pritzker has done a good job with the budgets. But there is nothing wrong with being concerned about future years. Last thing we need is an eight billion dollar structural deficit. Blagojevich level incompetence was only made possible by George Ryan level incompetence.


  8. - Incandenza - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 12:50 pm:

    I don’t think Rep. Crespo is saying we’re heading towards a “brick wall” but adding more and more pressure to the budget is a very real thing, and is somewhat myopic. Eventually the country will have an economic downturn and the state will have to go through and make very painful cuts unless the legislature is more discerning about starting new programs or expanding existing ones and prioritizes budget surpluses


  9. - JS Mill - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 12:52 pm:

    =I have no idea about a “fiscal cliff” but I do think taking a year off of always finding new ways to spend money and otherwise holding things “steady as she goes” would a remarkable display of governing.=

    Yep. Instead of adding, fully fund programs in existence.


  10. - TJ - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 1:01 pm:

    Seems simple enough. Crespo has talked about this for a while now, so it’s not like he had a sudden come to Jesus moment as Pritzker intimated. However, I doubt it’s much more of a thing than a minor and temporary spat. Crespo is one of the longest tenured members of the House now, so he remembers the incompetence of not just the Rauner years but the Quinn and Blago ones as well. It can’t be too surprising if he’s perturbed about economic woes given the former economic woes that he saw in the state. He’s in a safe spot electorally, but doesn’t hurt to hedge his bets and lean back into his relative fiscal conservative leanings, after all.


  11. - Sonny - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 1:04 pm:

    I think the governor did himself a disservice by dismissing Crespo’s concerns.

    As has been mentioned before, there are a lot of relatively new members of the GA that have no idea of what it’s like to deal with a tough budget — one in which they’re forced to go home with zero new dollars for district capital projects or operational grants for non-profits, let alone a budget where program funding has to actually be cut.

    JB could have helped re-set the expectations of a lot of members by agreeing with Crespo, at least in principle. He missed a chance to make his job a little easier next year.


  12. - Juice - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 1:13 pm:

    I realize that the revenue package was the bill to hold out on if you want to make a point since Crespo in essence was able to keep it from passing.

    But he voted in favor of the appropriations bill and the BIMP. But against the revenue package to pay for all of the things he just voted in favor of. So isn’t his criticism a bit disingenuous?


  13. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 1:14 pm:

    ===So isn’t his criticism a bit disingenuous? ===

    Yep.


  14. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 1:21 pm:

    ===There’s no good reason he should be surprised about Crespo. ===

    Agreed.

    But that dude hates to lose more than anything else. And it showed here.


  15. - Dirty Red - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 1:22 pm:

    I believe Rep. Crespo, a veteran member of the House and ranking member of JCAR, LAC and COGFA.

    COGFA’s economists even predict the tax base will regress as wage growth stays stagnant. Lest we forget, it was only a pandemic ago this administration was talking about a G.O. sale to make the pension payment and the Governor was investing political capital into a graduated income tax proposal.


  16. - NickNombre - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 1:35 pm:

    JB has been the best Illinois governor with regards to the budget in my adult life, but I think concerns about our fiscal future should not be so easily dismissed. Having a long-term financial plan that encompasses all expected future revenues and expenses is important.


  17. - Bluey - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 1:37 pm:

    Good thing the governor didn’t lose. On anything really.


  18. - Duck Duck Goose - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 1:56 pm:

    If Crespo was worried about a looming fiscal cliff, then he should have voted against the spending side rather than the revenue side. It’s the revenue that staves off any fiscal cliff. His votes make no sense in the context of his comments. It’s almost like he wanted credit for the spending initiatives but wanted to avoid responsibility for the bill. The old dine-and-dash approach to public finances.


  19. - Anyone Remember - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 2:10 pm:

    Crespo apparently doesn’t understand public finance. Specifically, some GRF revenue sources do not increase with cost of living (tax is per unit, not ad valorem) & some GRF expenditure categories increase in excess of cost of living (cough Edgar Pension Ramp). Absent one-time events (increased federal $, pension holiday), each new fiscal year starts out of balance.


  20. - Back to the Future - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 2:57 pm:

    Always appreciated Representative Crespo.
    He does his homework and his comments ring true to me.


  21. - Mason County - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 3:25 pm:

    =Hannah Meisel: [Some legislators] mentioned that we would have to ask for a service tax or an increase in income tax.

    Governor Pritzker: Every year, particularly Republicans say things like that. They say, ‘oh, we’re careening toward a brick wall.’ It hasn’t happened. Six years in a row, we have balanced this budget, and we have made sure that we’re thinking about and lowering costs for working families every time we put a budget together. So I’m pleased with how the budget ultimately came out. Six years of balanced budgets for Illinois that’s a record.=

    So this seems to affirm that the Governor will not be asking for any service and income (or other major )tax increases.


  22. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 4:27 pm:

    The income tax amendment will need to be placed back on the ballot. As wealth and income continue to shift to the top, the need for a graduated income tax will be imperative. While JB is not talking about this now, in two or four years, it will be back. The Dems should spend the next few years developing better messaging.


  23. - SaulGoodman - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 7:22 pm:

    ** I believe Rep. Crespo, a veteran member of the House and ranking member of JCAR, LAC and COGFA.**

    Crespo isn’t on JCAR or COGFA.


  24. - AD - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 8:01 pm:

    I’m a former agency CFO and testified and met with many members of the general services appropriations committee that Crespo chaired. He’s one of the few members on that committee that I would trust to balance my checkbook. Most of them have no business being anywhere close to these decisions for taxpayers.


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