Spending cuts, pension reform, and prioritizing education are a few items that make up the Governor’s balanced budget, which he presented to the General Assembly Feb. 14 during his annual budget address.
Calling on lawmakers to abandon the status quo of an unbalanced budget and overspending, the Governor offered a budget proposal that ensures spending does not exceed projected revenues, while holding the line on taxes. Senate Republican lawmakers said they were not only encouraged the Governor presented a balanced budget, but also emphasized the framework does not rely on a single tax increase.
Notably, the plan continues to increase funding for Illinois K-12 schools, which is a cause the Governor has pushed every year; the budget proposes $350 million for the new school funding formula. The budget framework also dedicates resources to combat crime and the opioid crisis, directs $50 million for infrastructure improvements at the Quincy Veterans Home, and provides assistance for some of Illinois’ most vulnerable residents, while implementing reforms that would ease the financial burden on Illinois taxpayers.
Though Senate Republicans noted the Governor’s budget proposal is just the first step on the road to a fiscal year 2019 budget, they said it was a good working foundation for the General Assembly. While legislators on both sides of the aisle won’t be able to get behind all of the Governor’s proposals, Senate Republicans say they appreciate the tough decisions he made to ensure the budget process began with a balanced budget.
With the Governor’s proposal in hand, the Legislature can now begin what Senate Republican lawmakers hope is a bipartisan process of negotiating and advancing a budget that will help stimulate the economy, grow jobs and continue providing record funding for education.