State Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) launched what he hopes will begin a series of presentations on the House Floor to highlight some of the financial challenges facing Illinois.
Rep. Caulkins asked for time to present a response to the Governor’s budget proposal after the House had adjourned. He presented a large thermometer showing the budget costs for education, Medicaid and other state spending. Gov. Pritzker’s nearly $39 billion budget proposes to close the $3.2 billion budget deficit by raising taxes and skipping pension payments. All told, the budget proposal calls for $77 billion in spending which includes state and federal dollars.
"The Governor insists that this is a balanced budget, but the truth is his budget plan is based on phantom numbers," Caulkins said. "His budget spends revenue from taxes that have not yet been approved. We have no idea how much money a tax on sports betting is going to generate or how much taxes on recreational marijuana would generate nor do have any assurances that these taxes are even going to pass the General Assembly. The Governor’s budget proposal is beyond risky."
Caulkins noted that financial organizations are not impressed with the Governor’s budget proposal. S&P Global Ratings called the budget "precariously" balanced. This week Fitch Ratings said the Governor’s budget "would not materially address the state’s structural budget issues in the current fiscal year or the next."
"The Governor’s budget spends every dime we collect in taxes and every dime we would collect in new tax increases and does nothing to address the State’s pension debt or substantially address the growing backlog of unpaid bills," Caulkins said. "Every gimmick and every trick previous administrations have employed in the past to punt current financial obligations to future administrations is present in this budget. We cannot keep making the same mistakes over and over again."
Caulkins said he will continue to make these floor presentations to highlight the problems in Illinois in the hope that real solutions can be found. A link to his address on the House floor can be found at: https://tinyurl.com/y5hs2bmc.
Progressive Income Tax
This week, the House Republicans held a press conference to tout House Resolution 153 which opposes any effort to enact a progressive income tax in Illinois.
"This is being sold as a tax increase on the rich, but the reality is once the Legislature has the Constitutional authority to set different tax rates for individual taxpayers, there is nothing stopping future General Assemblies from raising taxes on lower income brackets. The progressive income tax is basically a blank check from taxpayers. Do we really want to give Speaker Mike Madigan a blank check?"
Caulkins said he will oppose the Governor’s jobs tax.
"The progressive income is going to raise taxes on all taxpayers, and we have to stop it," Caulkins said. "Wealthy individuals can afford to leave Illinois, but the middle-class taxpayers cannot move or put their money into tax shelters. I will stand with Illinois taxpayers and oppose Gov. Pritzker’s jobs tax."
Rep. Caulkins is pushing a measure (HB 889) requiring insurance companies to cover treatments for Lyme Disease.
There are now 32 sponsors for legislation. Caulkins said he hopes the legislation will move out of committee next week.
"Most people recover quickly from Lyme Disease if given the right treatments in the early stages of the disease," Caulkins said. "This is why coverage for the antibiotics to treat Lyme Disease is so important. If people who have it get the treatment they need quickly, they can recover faster. This is legislation is gaining interest and hopefully we can get it through committee and onto the floor for a vote."