Senator Jim Oberweis released the following statement after Illinois Senate Democrat leaders forced through a Fiscal Year 2021 budget, ignoring recommendations from Senate Republicans and their requests to allow more time to analyze the $43 billion spending plan that relies on $5 billion in borrowing from the federal government plus another billion in short-term borrowing.
"On top of all that, it is based on overly optimistic estimates for Fiscal Year 2020 revenue, using a revised estimate of a revenue decline of approximately $670 million which in my opinion is too optimistic. It will likely be closer to $1.5 billion, further exacerbating our backlog of unpaid bills. Democrats are trying to pass this quickly before everyone can see how sharply tax revenue is declining. We should wait another month before passing this so that the numbers would be more clear. If this was a stock I was analyzing, I would consider it to be a short candidate since actual numbers are likely to be much worse than estimates."
Oberweis says he did not support the spending plan, approved in the early morning hours of May 24 by a strict 37-19 party-line vote, because it relies too heavily on borrowing and sources of revenue that are anticipated but certainly not assured.
"The spending plan presented by the Governor on Feb. 19 put the best face possible on Illinois' fiscal situation, but even then his spending plan relied on a huge income tax increase which, hopefully, will not happen. It also glossed over our state's most fundamental problems - increasingly higher taxes, rampant corruption, and steadily declining population for the last six years.
Now, after more than two months of stay-at-home mandates, add in the staggering loss of tax revenues and our fiscal situation is dire. So instead of taking a hard look at spending reductions to get through these tough times, this Administration is basing this plan on a $5 billion charge card from the federal government that we can access with the hopes of a huge federal windfall to pay that money back. And this is no time to raise legislators' salaries, which this budget could allow. That is just wrong at a time like this.
My colleagues and I are trying to change the way things are done in Springfield, but our suggestions are not being considered. We are trying to get rid of the corruption. We are trying to reduce property taxes. We are trying to address our fundamental pension problem that is stealing the future from our children and grandchildren. We are trying to get control of the run-away spending. Unfortunately, this Administration's tax Increase that is central to their spending plan will drive even more of our businesses and tax-paying citizens out of the state. And with them will go many good, high paying jobs, making our situation even worse. That is disgraceful."
Oberweis says he understands the flexibility needed to govern during the COVID-19 health crisis, but he notes that Republicans in the Senate and House of Representatives have asked repeatedly for a seat at the table during negotiations on big issues. Those requests have been ignored. The 25th District Senator says duly elected Senators representing the interests of hundreds of thousands of constituents should be allowed a voice in the tough decisions necessary to pass a balanced budget with structural reforms that will boost the economy and jobs.
Fiscal Year 2021 runs from July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021.