Springfield, IL...The Legislature is finally discussing the “budget”, but we are doing so with both eyes closed. A family or business couldn’t create a budget this way: spending to your heart’s content and not worrying if you had any money in the bank. However our legislative leaders and majority of members have built a spending plan from the bottom up and in the process ignored the constitutional requirement that the General Assembly pass a budget that does not spend more than it takes in. From my calculations we are approving spending of nearly $4 billion more than the state will collect from citizens.
A budget is supposed to start with anticipated revenue and then prioritize the spending. Legislators say an education is key to a good paying job, a livable family income, buying a home, and keeping people out of prison, yet that is not what is being prioritized. Higher education funding is cut from last year and K-12 education funding is still below what is minimally needed.
The Governor was elected by a majority of our citizens to shake-up the way state government is operated, but legislative leaders are refusing to discuss any reforms. They just want to continue doing business the way they have for the past 15 years and expect different results. This debate is not over; the Governor will get to weigh-in on this spending plan. A real budget can still be crafted in the months ahead.