McSweeney: 'Smoke and mirrors' budget will hurt Illinois
State Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) was not happy with the first lllinois budget to pass the General Assembly in two years, saying it does little to help the state and in fact almost guarantees the first "junk" bond rating for any U.S. state in history.
The Senate and House voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's vetoes despite the majority of Republican lawmakers opposing the measures, which include a permanent tax increase.
“What we’re seeing now is that if we pass this tax increase, Moody’s is telling us that we are going to junk,” McSweeney said. “They’re giving us a road map that this state is going to junk because this budget is full of smoke and mirrors and this budget is not going to accomplish fundamental reforms. It’s not going to change pension. It’s not going to change Medicaid. What we do know for sure is that this budget is going hurt people.”
Illinois is already losing residents, he said, arguing that “47 percent of the people before the crisis said they want to leave the state of Illinois” and 115,000 people have already left. He attributes the exodus to the high tax burden, which he claims residents can no longer tolerate.
“We’ve all heard from our constituents that they’re wondering how they’re going to pay their high property taxes. They’re wondering how they’re going to pay their living expenses because we are raising their income taxes by 32 percent,” McSweeney said. “What do we get? Nothing. Nothing. We get nothing but more taxes, more of the status quo.”
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider also expressed bitter disappointment at the GOP lawmakers who voted for the veto overrides.
“Republicans in Illinois fought Madigan’s machine in 2014 to elect Gov. Rauner and won,” Schneider said. “In 2016, we beat Madigan again and made historic gains in the House and the Senate. After all we have accomplished together, it is astonishing that these legislators would now turn their backs on taxpayers across the state. I am confident voters will hold those politicians accountable for choosing Mike Madigan over the people of Illinois.”
The three overrides covered the spending, tax hike and budget implementation measures known as SB6, SB9 and SB42. In total, the bills will provide Illinois with a $36 billion spending plan and impose a permanent 32 percent tax increase on both income and corporate taxes. SB9 increases personal state income tax rates to 4.95 percent from 3.75 percent and corporate tax rates to 7 percent from 5.25 percent.
House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) needed 71 votes to achieve the overrides. Both SB9 and SB42 got 71 votes exactly, while SB6 got 74.
Rauner called the overrides another step in “Illinois' never-ending tragic trail of tax hikes."
McSweeney concluded that there is an alternative way for lawmakers to help taxpayers: Do their jobs.
“We can stay here," he said. "We can do our job. We can adopt pro-growth economic policies. We can make Illinois a state people are going to want to stay in. So, I ask everyone to please do the right thing: Stand up for the taxpayers of this state.”