Rep Skillicorn: Pritzker 'does not have what it takes to reform'
Illinois' financial crisis has been a decadeslong bipartisan effort and the state's Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker decision to blame his Republican predecessor isn't helping, the state House Representative from Crystal Lake said during a recent interview.
"Both Republicans and Democrats share a lot of the blame," 66th State House District Rep. Allen Skillicorn told the McHenry Times and referred to former Illinois governor's Jim Edgar, George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich in apportioning blame. "Twenty years ago Governor Edgar mortgaged the pensions creating the disastrous pension ramp that is crushing our finances today. Governor Ryan spent the money saved from that ramp and Governor Blagojevich shorted those pensions multiple years."
Edgar and Ryan are Republicans while Blagojevich, currently serving a prison sentence on corruption charges, is a Democrat.
"Furthermore the legislature hasn't passed a balanced budget in a decade," Skillicorn said. "Pritzker pointing the fingers and lying about the state's finances proves to me he does not have what it takes to reform the structural financial issues driving thousands of taxpayers out of the state every year."
Skillicorn has represented the 66th State House District since he first was elected to the seat in 2016. He was unopposed in November's midterm elections.
The 66th State House District is located within Kane and McHenry counties and includes Lakewood, Lake in the Hills, Gilberts, Sleepy Hollow and West Dundee.
Since his inauguration last month, Pritzker has dealt with the state's fiscal crisis largely by releasing a budget with a larger than normal deficit—more than $3 billion—and blaming his predecessor, Republican former Gov. Bruce Rauner. In a report called "Digging Out: The Rauner Wreckage Report," Pritzker's office placed the blamed for billions of dollars in unpaid bills, the state's $7.8 billion budget deficit, more than $133 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and other financial woes squarely on Rauner's administration.
"Four years of failure and ideological warfare in Illinois state government created a mess that will take years to put behind us," the report said.
The report also promised that Pritzker will fix these woes but doesn't say how, which has lead to speculation that the governor might release those details during his budget address scheduled for Feb. 20.
Skillicorn recommended that Pritzker have a look at an existing balanced budget proposal that wouldn't raise taxes, a proposal Skillicorn placed on the table more than two years ago.
"I suggest Governor Pritzker consult my Right Now Budget, which was balanced and would have prevented the 32 percent tax hike back in 2017," Skillicorn said.
Skillicorn also urged passage of the bipartisan spending cap constitutional amendments that he and Illinois state Sen. Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) filed in the House and Senate earlier this legislative session.
"The sooner Illinois addresses real pension reform, Medicaid fraud and passes my spending cap constitutional amendment, the sooner we can start righting the ship," he said.