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Illinois Budget, Illinois House, Illinois Politics

Illinois Budget: House GOP Leader Tom Cross Gives Jobs, Budget Plan a Swift Kick in the Can


House Minority Leader Tom Cross

(Springfield, IL) — March 4, 2010. The Illinois budget is a game of kick-the-can for grown ups.

In advance of Governor Pat Quinn’s budget address next week, House Republican Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) teamed-up with ultra-conservative Illinois Policy Institute President John Tillman to outline a familiar-looking agenda on jobs, spending, and accountability at a Springfield press conference today.

“For the second consecutive year, we are outlining a common sense economic reform agenda that will create jobs, rein in wasteful spending and provide significant legislative reforms to change the way business is done in Springfield,” said Cross.

Apparently the first year was a bust.

“With record unemployment and budget deficits, one would think the leaders in Springfield would be more focused on job creation, cutting spending and reforming government,” said Tillman. “Yet, what we see is a ‘kick the can down the road until after the election’ approach.”

And the can kicked-around today by Cross and Tillman clearly had been kicked many, many times.

The Cross-Tillman plan includes no surprises:

  • Appoint Members to the Sunshine Commission – The Sunshine Commission, an independent commission of residents and business leaders who will make specific recommendations to consolidate or eliminate duplicative or ineffective programs, was created by Executive Order in 2009; not one member has been appointed to the Commission.
  • Spending Reform – State spending has risen 39 percent over the past decade, while the population increased by 6.8 percent. This proposal will control government spending with common-sense reforms.
  • Regulatory Reform – Illinois currently ranks third to last in economic performance, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council. Regulatory hurdles can create a hostile environment for businesses looking to start or expand in Illinois. Reform legislation would call for a comprehensive review of job-killing regulations and require an up-or-down vote on eliminating these provisions.
  • Supermajority Vote for Tax and Fee Increases – HRJCA 28 requires a three-fifths supermajority vote on any legislation that would raise taxes or fees on Illinois families or businesses.
  • Budget Transparency – This legislation would give the public seven days to review the budget online before it is voted upon in the House and Senate, thereby providing additional time for the media and public to review and provide input.
  • Legislative Openness – Would require any piece of legislation that is co-sponsored by one-third of all members of the full chamber be automatically scheduled for a floor vote in accordance with the calendar.

Nothing in the Cross-Tillman budget “plan” actually addresses the gaping $12 billion hole in the Illinois budget and a looming $1 billion cut to local education which could slash 13,000 Illinois school-related jobs . Posting the budget on-line for everyone to view the budget hole, well, still fails to fix the hole.

No matter.

Tillman is entirely correct that there is a “kick the can down the road” approach reigning in Springfield, but the Illinois budget crisis in no way resolved by kicking around an empty can either.

About David Ormsby

David, a public relations consultant and blogger at The Huffington Post, is an ex-Press Secretary of the Illinois Democratic Party.

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