SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) – Illinois House Republicans called for more transparency and oversight in the budget process Tuesday.
“Illinois House Republicans are here to govern,” House Minority Leader Tony McCombie (R-Savanna), said. “We are here to give solutions. We want to help and are willing to share our ideas that address the budget shortcomings and provide tax reform policies that Illinois taxpayers and job creators need to stay in Illinois and need to grow in Illinois.”
House Republicans proposed several budget reforms including adopting a revenue estimate and basing the budget off of that, more budget hearings, and briefings to lawmakers about the budget.
“These are not unreasonable things in terms or trying to, from their perspective, be a partner in terms of the budget-making process,” UIS professor emeritus Kent Redfield said.
Democrats have supermajorities in both the House and Senate to pass legislation. Redfield said that puts Republicans at a disadvantage.
“Because of their kind of superminority, they’re not in a position to really leverage major kinds of changes,” Redfield said.
House Republicans also want to see tax reform.
Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb), the House Republicans chief budgeteer, gave examples of those reforms including to “eliminate the franchise tax on employers, property tax relief for families and businesses.”
But Redfield said a cut in taxes could impact state spending.
“If we’re going to reduce the tax burden, we either have to swap one thing for another, or we have to cut spending, and everybody loves to cut taxes, but they don’t love to cut spending,” Redfield said.
Throughout his time in office, Governor Pritzker has touted his success in passing the budget after years of deficit, and bringing in a surplus.
“We’ve been doing it and we’ve been running surpluses which have allowed us to pay off debt and really lift up the economic circumstances, the fiscal circumstances of the state,” Pritzker said earlier this month while visiting an elementary school in Chatham.
Redfield said an increase in consumer spending during the pandemic helped drive the surplus.
But if those things change, he warns that that could cause problems for the future.
“Building budgets on one time money, on anticipating events and economic changes … that they’re just going to continue, this is the new normal, that gets you into trouble,” Redfield said.
Governor Pritzker is expected to unveil his plans for this year’s budget when he delivers his state of the state address in February.