(Springfield, IL) — March 11, 2010. Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady on Wednesday called Governor Pat Quinn’s fiscal year 2011 budget a “catastrophe,” insisting his own plan for a 10 percent across-the-board cut would balance the budget and dig the state out of its $13 billion hole.
His comments came after Quinn’s budget speech to lawmakers and a day after former Republican Govern Jim Edgar called Brady’s budget plan “naïve.”
But the downstate senator from Bloomington remained confident in his plan – and in his chances to win the governor’s office in November.
“I wish [Quinn] would take more time to analyze what I’ve suggested Illinois needs,” Brady said. “I really don’t want to be governor and be saddled with the albatross he’s created in this fiscal mess.”
According to Quinn, the solution to the state’s financial woes lies in $4 billion in short-term borrowing and $2 billion in spending cuts, with $1.3 targeted for education. To soften the blow to education, the Democratic governor is calling for a 1 percent point increase – or 33 percent – in the state’s 3 percent income tax rate.
Brady said the income tax increase didn’t “make sense” to him, criticizing Quinn for singling out only one of the state’s major expenses.
“There’s $40 to $45 billion that you can cut and re-construct,” Brady said. “In addition to that, I’ve said we need managed-care Medicaid. We can save money by providing access to health care in earlier stages of an illness for our Medicaid recipients.”
Brady declined, however, to elaborate on the details of the cuts that he believes could be made.
However, Brady did acknowledge that one of Quinn’s proposals makes sense: a $2,500 tax credit for every new employee hired by small business owners. Brady has called for a similar tax credit of $2,150 for all businesses.
“I do want to compliment him,” Brady said. “He finally is getting the fact that we have to foster business investment. I just hope he’s genuine in trying to reach that.”
Those were Brady’s only words of praise. He criticized Quinn’s plan to borrow and increase the state’s debt, saying the best way to solvency lies in cuts he believes Illinois residents will support. He said Quinn apparently wasn’t taking the budget “seriously.”
“It seems to me that what he’s simply doing here is ignoring the problem, kicking the can down the road, trying to make it past the election,” Brady said. “I frankly wonder if he’s planning on being here in January because he’s leaving a pretty big problem.”
–Mary Massingale, Illinois Statehouse News