Republican lawmakers in northwest Illinois have called the state’s budget process rushed and reliance on tax revenue from increased consumer spending after the lockdown as short-sighted.
Those Republican lawmakers voted against budget appropriations and funding but largely supported the tax relief proposal that the General Assembly passed early Saturday morning in Springfield.
The $46.5 billion spending plan and $1.8 billion tax cuts were approved by the state Senate at 3 a.m. and the House at 5:30 a.m.
Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, who is also a candidate for state treasurer, told Capitol News Illinois that the budget plan drawn up by Democrats was too reliant on pandemic-related tax revenue.
“And when that one-time income dries up, the only thing you know how to do is go back and raise taxes again,” he told CNI.
Rep. Andrew Chesney, R-Freeport, said, “While the one-time tax refunds will be welcomed by Illinois families, the budget doesn’t provide what they really need, like structural reforms that will keep permanently lower taxes and will improve the efficiency of government.”
In the Senate, Deputy Minority Leader Sue Rezin, R-Morris, called the process rushed.
“Illinois families are struggling to keep pace with soaring inflation and spiraling taxes,” Rezin said in a press release. “This year, we had a real opportunity to provide residents of our state with real, permanent tax relief that they desperately need. Instead, they are getting tax relief gimmicks and reckless spending.
Sen. Brian Stewart, R-Freeport, did not vote on the measures and said Republican suggestions for permanent tax relief were ignored.
Stewart cited the management of the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund as an example.
Republicans, including Demmer on the House side and Rezin and Sen. Win Stoller of Germantown Hills on the Senate side, argued in March that American Recovery Plan Act funds should be used to address a trust fund deficit . Lawmakers approved a $2.7 billion payout, leaving $1.8 billion unpaid.