Whether it is balanced or not is secondary to the real problem with state budget, Rep. Ugaste says
Freshman Illinois state Rep. Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) laments the fact that the state’s new $40 billion spending plan does little to address any of the real issues that have long kept the cash-strapped Prairie State in the red.
“We don’t provide services that we need to, and [the budget] doesn’t give people or businesses any confidence we will address our big problems,” Ugaste told the Kane County Reporter. “Nothing about it says this is a place they should be. Convincing people to stay is a hard thing to do when there’s so much uncertainty.”
A recent Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) analysis concludes that the problems do not end there for Gov. J.B. Pritzker's budget plan. IPI estimates that the plan is as much as $1.3 billion out of whack, marking the 19th straight year the state has been forced to operate without a truly balanced budget, according to the institute. Researchers also point out that this year’s spending plan falls short despite lawmakers again raising taxes and borrowing more to piece it together.
“There’s just so much forecasting and you never know with forecasting,” Ugaste said. "Forecasting only works about half of the time. That’s why the constitution stipulates that things be balanced based on past receipts.”
Ugaste argues that nothing will change until state lawmakers start addressing what are clearly the biggest problems.
“Whether or not things are too speculative or we’re forecasting more than we should, the underlying problems for the state are the huge cost-drivers like pensions and property taxes," he said. "Those are the issues we need to address, and until we do our problems will continue to persist.”