SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) said she had hoped Governor Quinn would deliver a challenging, austere budget plan during his budget address on Feb. 22. Instead, she says he missed the mark by failing to address Illinois’ dire financial situation and instead proposed a budget that will increase spending from last year.
“What the Governor has unveiled today will do nothing to bring fiscal responsibility to the state and will only further solidify the 67 percent income tax increase as permanent,” Sen. Rezin said. “His proposal to spend $50 million more than last year – according to his own budget numbers –is astounding. This budget makes no plans to rollback state spending to fiscal year 2008 levels as he talked about previously doing. It’s truly disappointing, not to mention irresponsible.”
Sen. Rezin expressed disappointment over the lack of details Gov. Quinn provided, especially with Medicaid and pension reform and how to rollback the income tax increase as he previously promised.
“Gov. Quinn cited reducing the state’s backlog of bills as the primary reason for last year’s massive income tax hike,” Sen. Rezin said. “Yet this budget that the Governor has proposed would leave us just $160 million to pay off old bills after spending nearly every anticipated dollar the state will receive in the coming year. That equals paying 1.9 percent of the bill backlog, which hardly makes an impact.”
Despite a target of reducing Medicaid spending, the proposed budget would actually see a record 3 million people on Medicaid during the coming year – an increase of 160,000 persons to the program. The Governor’s budget allocates $6.6 billion to Medicaid, which is approximately $2.7 billion short of projected liabilities for the upcoming year.
“Gov. Quinn spoke on the extreme need to reform Medicaid, but it seems like he had no real idea of how to accomplish that,” Sen. Rezin said. “I agreed with him when he said that we need to prevent fraud and enforce eligibility requirements, but his administration has failed to enact reforms we passed last year that would do just that. It is definitely an area that needs to be addressed this spring, and without any sort of reform, our deficits will grow further and people might not receive the care they need.”
It is estimated that without budget reform, the state backlog will reach $35 billion, or about $2 billion more than the state’s entire annual general fund, by 2017.