Jim Dodge fully supports Gov. Bruce Rauner’s concept about a full and balanced budget and desperately hopes lawmakers in Springfield are up to doing the work that is necessary to achieve the goal.
“It’s absolutely the right goal, and every taxpayer here in Illinois deserves that level of clarity,” he told the Prairie State Wire. “But there’s no question it will take a lot of work to get there.”
Rauner’s plan calls for lawmakers to enact a full-year fiscal 2019 budget before July 1 that adheres to a revenue estimate instead of a partial spending plan that wouldl only carry the state through November’s general election.
Rauner, who is running for a second term against Democrat J.B. Pritzker in November, has also pressed lawmakers to present him with a bill that seeks to save taxpayers as much as $1 billion in annual pension costs prior to the end of the spring legislative session on May 31.
Dodge, an Orland Park Republican who ran unopposed in the GOP primary for state treasurer, joins the likes of Republican House Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) in throwing his support behind Rauner's plan.
“The impact of an unbalanced budget impacts everything in the state,” Dodge added. “Services begin to suffer, the cost of everything starts to rise and good things just don’t happen. Think about it, if the state keeps underfunding schools and education, it will keep showing up in the levels of property taxes we’re forced to pay.”
As it is, Illinois’ $130 billion in unfunded pension liability and a two-year stretch where the state was forced to operate without a balanced budget in place has pushed the state’s credit ratings to just a shade above junk status.
Dodge added that adopting a progressive tax being proposed by Pritzker will only make matters worse.
“The progressive tax idea is the worse idea I’ve ever heard,” he said. “I’ve never once met a person who feels they are undertaxed. The last thing we need is more taxes. What Illinois needs are some long overdue reforms.”