Governor proposes budget; More legislation introduced

Governor proposes new state budget

Governor Pritzker delivered his 2021 budget address on Wednesday. He is once again proposing an unbalanced budget based on hypothetical revenues and tax hikes. This is the wrong approach to solving Illinois’ budget woes. It relies on nearly a billion dollars in new taxes on job creators and repeats the mistake made last year of relying on the hope of a bailout from Washington DC.

Raising taxes on small businesses who are already struggling to get back on their feet after the pandemic and shutdowns will only cause more financial pain and job loss. We need to start enacting fiscal reforms and smart spending decisions because Illinois families and businesses can’t afford Governor Pritzker’s budget.

Calling on the Governor to launch the Blue Collar Jobs Act

Two years ago the Governor and the General Assembly worked together on a bipartisan to pass the Blue Collar Jobs Act, a package of construction tax incentives to create middle-class jobs in Illinois. The legislation was scheduled to go into effect on January 1, but Governor Pritzker has decided to delay its implementation, placing the blame on the revenue loss from the pandemic.

This is a mistake. With our economy once again lagging behind the rest of the country, job creation incentives like the Blue Collar Jobs Act are needed now more than ever. With our economy struggling to recover from the pandemic, we should be promoting these job-creating incentives, not sidelining them.

More legislation being introduced in early days of session

Last week I told you about some of the bills I am introducing as the 102nd General Assembly’s spring session gets underway. Here are some details on a few more.

To help students who are eager to get some work experience, House Bill 834 creates an internship tax credit which would encourage employers to give these students a chance to get their first job. The legislation would allow employers to claim a credit worth 10% of the stipend or salary they pay to as many as five college interns or five high school interns, capped at $5000 in total. This is a good way for our high school and college students to have the chance to get some real-world experience as they complete their studies.

House Bill 656 makes a change to better protect the safety of passengers on motorcycles, while House Bill 657 honors our Air Force combat veterans by allowing the issue of Air Force Combat Action Medal license plates.

Last month we saw debate on a controversial piece of legislation abruptly cut off and the bill called for a vote before many members had the chance to speak on it. This is bad for the legislative process and needs to be changed. House Resolution 47 makes much-needed changes to the way the House debates bills. My proposal would put in place a more open process of debate and discussion, which I believe will lead to more informative and open debates of legislation.

Committee assignments announced

I will be serving on five committees in this new General Assembly, including two appropriations committees which deal with reviewing the state budget. I was named the Republican Spokesperson on the Appropriations-Elementary and Secondary Education Committee. I will also serve on the appropriations committee which deals with public safety.

In addition to these roles, I was named to the Child Care Accessibility/Early Childhood Education Committee, the Elementary and Secondary Education – School Curriculum and Policies Committee, and the Police and Fire Committee. We will have a lot of important work to do in each of these committees and I am looking forward to using this opportunity to make some positive changes for our state.

How much do we owe?

As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $5,187,764,520 in unpaid bills to state vendors. One year ago, the backlog stood at $7.3 billion. This figure represents the amount of bills submitted to the office of the Comptroller and still awaiting payment. It does not include debts that can only be estimated, such as our unfunded pension liability which is subject to a wide range of factors and has been estimated to be more than $141 billion.

More news from around the state

The latest update from the Department of Public Health

JCAR approves ‘culturally responsive’ teaching standards in Illinois as GOP objects

Move Over Law task force share proposed steps to protect responders

State Trooper injured in I-55 crash near Joliet

ACA marketplace re-opening for Illinoisans to purchase health insurance coverage

Illinois Product Expo goes online for 2021

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My district offices remain closed to in-person visits, but are still accessible by phone at (815) 432-0106 (Watseka) and (815) 844-9179 (Pontiac).