GOP 'Compromise' budget decried as barely different from Democrat plan
The GOP-proposed compromise budget plan that includes supposedly temporary tax increases, reforms and funding for education and social programs is a major disappointment, a producer of a Chicago-based conservative radio show said on a recent broadcast.
"No, they shouldn't pass it," Illinois Policy Institute writer and "Illinois Rising "Producer Joe Kaiser said.
Kaiser referred to previous criticism on the show of the Democrats' so-called "Grand Bargain" that includes tax increases and said what the GOP proposes is more of the same.
"We've criticized that a lot," Kaiser said. "Then the Republicans put forward this plan. We've been waiting for the Republicans to put forward something that's sane, that doesn't intensify what's already the largest tax burden in the country, but this is essentially the same thing. They're acting as if this is some sort of lighter proposal, some kind of reform proposal because some of these tax hikes are temporary as opposed to permanent. That's not the sort of bold solution that you'd want to see in stark contrast to what the Democrats put forward."
"Illinois Rising" is co-hosted by Dan Proft, a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.
On June 14, GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate introduced the "Capitol Compromise", which they said offers a balanced budget and reforms that address priorities of both major parties. A GOP analysis of the compromise said it offers property tax relief, including a freeze on tax levies for four years; term limits, government consolidation; and pension, education and workers' compensation reforms.
The plan also offers a balanced budget that includes $250 million over fiscal 2017 in a new school funding formula, a 50-cent pay hike for state-employed direct support professionals and restoration and funding of some social programs.
The income tax increase would sunset after four years instead of being permanent.
On June 21, Republican state lawmakers renewed their push for the compromise.
"Remember, we are in overtime," House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) told reporters during a press conference in the Blue Room at the Capitol. "A simple majority is no longer in effect in the House of Representatives. Speaker [Mike] Madigan and the House Democrats will need Republican votes if they want to end this impasse."
However, the GOP needs to be mindful of its message and not be so quick to adopt the Democrat narrative, Kaiser said.
"Democrats are saying it's a tax problem," he said. "They're telling Illinois families, 'You're the problem; we need more from you. It would set up a choice, politically, between Republicans and Democrats. We have one party saying to Illinois families, 'You're the problem,' and the other party saying, 'No, we want to structurally reform the state.' But with this kind of proposal, both parties are saying, 'No, Illinois families are the problem; we need more from you.'"