Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker | twitter.com/jbpritzker
According to an Illinois Policy Institute analysis, the $45 billion Rebuild Illinois capital spending plan attached to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s overall state budget is riddled with 'pork-barrel projects' that include a $50 million subsidy for the Illinois Arts Council chaired by the wife of longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan.
In light of this news, Illinois state Rep. Chris Miller (R-Oakland), who was leery of Pritzker's spending plan from the outset, said that even he was taken aback by some of the details coming out.
“I have to admit that I’m a little surprised that after all the rhetoric and all the things that were said, they would have the gall to put forth a budget plan with all this pork,” Miller told the East Central Reporter, referring to the Democratic majorities in Springfield. “With all the negativity that’s going on with the state, with outmigration and talk about taxes, it’s just beyond my comprehension that they would do this. This is more piling on and creating an even greater level of distrust for the legislature.”
Illinois state Rep. Chris Miller (R-Oakland)
In addition, lawmakers in Springfield are reported to be assured of receiving an average of about $3.4 million for projects in their districts, with the lion’s share of the funding going to Democratic-led districts. Left holding the bag for all the spending are taxpayers, who saw the state’s gas tax double to 38 cents per gallon and vehicle registration fees for certain vehicles spike from $98 to $148 as a way of generating more revenue.
“It would be one thing if we were operating with surpluses and the budget was balanced,” said Miller. “One of the things about being 65 years old is I can remember about 50 years of Illinois politics. Over time, these guys have come to have a reputation of not doing what they said they were going to do and not using money for what they claim they will. I can remember how the lottery was going to fund education.”
Miller said lawmakers need to be working toward reforms and solutions rather than more ideas for raising taxes.
“It’s like I’ve always said, we don’t have a revenue problem we have a spending problem,” Miller said. “Raising taxes is a non-solution and until we deal with the pensions, until we deal with Medicaid and until we deal with the illegals, we’re not going to be able to tax our way out of all these problems.”