Prairie State Wire

Prairie State Wire

Monday, January 20, 2020

Wirepoints: Pritzker's capital budget 'is madness'

State Government

By Angela Underwood | Jun 7, 2019


Wirepoints founder Mark Glennon believes Gov. J.B. Pritzker went overboard with his excessive budget for the state's infrastructure.

"When Gov. Pritzker announced a $41.5 billion capital spending plan a couple weeks ago, we thought it was surely just a pie-in-the-sky first offer – that economic realities and unpopular tax hikes needed to fund so massive a plan would chop it down to something reasonable," Glennon said in a statement. "Silly us. The plan has now increased to $45 billion. We understand the case for a capital program of some kind, but this is madness."

Some of the tax increases, including higher vehicle registration fees, charges on sports wagering revenue and an increased cigarette tax of $1, do not match up to the governor's program proposal, he said.

Wirepoints founder Mark Glennon

"Much of it will also come out of the state's general fund, putting more pressure on the already desperate situation there," Glennon said. "And, no, that won't be fixed by a new progressive income tax."

Glennon cited a News-Gazette editorial that explicitly noted "the Illinois legislature either has no real grasp of the financial situation in this state or simply doesn't care."

He pointed to previous capital project spending plans under other state leaders to prove Gov. Pritzker's proposal is excessive, recalling that Gov. Pat Quinn requested $18 billion, Gov. George Ryan sought $12 billion and Gov. Jim Thompson asked for $2.3 billion. None of those numbers are near the $41.5 billion Pritzker has budgeted.

"A spending binge so massive, prepared by proven incompetents and dumped on the General Assembly along with thousands of pages of other budget and spending matters, inevitably will be loaded with pork and waste," Glennon said. "It will take time for much of what was done to be exposed."

Glennon's colleague, Wirepoints president Ted Dabrowski, told the Prairie State Wire that while it appears Pritzker has presented a solid plan, the "Rebuild Illinois" infrastructure project is part of all the broader taxes the governor put forth.

"We probably have no business talking about a capital bill when we have yet to reform anything regarding taxes, pensions and collective-bargaining laws," Dabrowski said.

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