Ives asks Democrats to explain endgame strategy
As the sixth day day of the special legislative session ended on Monday, Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) asked Democrats in the House chamber whether the persistent lack of progress on a state budget and reforms was some enigmatic strategy.
“I want to know what the endgame is," she said. "Where does this all end? What I mean is that whoever is in power after 2018, they are going to still be faced with monumental debt, fleeing populations, businesses that aren’t competitive -- and that is no place for our state to be. So, what is the endgame?”
Illinois lawmakers failed to pass a budget at the end of the regular legislative session in May, forcing Gov. Bruce Rauner to call for a the current continuous session until either a budget is passed or the fiscal year ends after June 30.
If a budget doesn’t get passed, Illinois will enter its third year without a budget, which promises to be devastating to many of vital social and human services. It also will likely mean another drop in the state's credit rating -- possibly to never-before-seen junk bond status.
Ives asked Democrats what exactly they were after.
“More and more escalating taxes?" she said. "No reforms on property taxes? Is that the endgame? Because that is a failure. That will be our demise. That will put the nail in the coffin.”
Illinois has a bill backlog nearing $16 billion and owes close to $250 million in pension debt, according to Moody’s Investor Service. It’s property taxes are the second-highest in the nation, behind only New Jersey, and residents are moving to neighboring states.
The state needs change and lawmakers needs to focus on reforms, Ives concluded.
“The very rational and reasonable reforms that have been put aside -- frankly by both sides of the aisle to some degree, especially on consolidation, procurement reform – we need to see more of that because it doesn’t matter who is in power in 2018," Ives said. "These festering problems are going to sit here and the market is going to make a determination for us rather than us making a determination and becoming more marketable. So, I want to know what your endgame is. Because it doesn’t matter anymore. You have no choice but to stunt the growth of government and to implement reforms that make us competitive. There is no other path. None.”