Morrison says GOP legislators gave themselves black eye with budget passage
Republicans who stepped in to help Democrats pass Illinois' first full budget in two years only ended up hurting their party, Rep. Tom Morrison, (R-Palatine) told Dan Proft and guest host Kristen McQueary of "Chicago’s Morning Answer" radio show recently.
“It does make our messaging a lot more difficult,” Morrison said. “Where are the significant reforms like you see in Indiana and some other states with Republican leadership — real Republican leadership?”
Proft is a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.
Fifteen House Republicans voted for the budget, which includes a $5 billion tax increase and a $36.5 billion spending plan, and 10 voted to overturn Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the budget.
“I’ve got colleagues in my caucus that have significantly higher percentages of public employees who are fighting for their own self-preservation, Morrison said.
Illinois has paid $800 million in interest on its debt, Morrison said, adding that he believes many Republicans voted for the budget just to end the ongoing impasse.
He argued that lawmakers appear to lack the appetite for real reform.
“Where are the reforms that would give us as taxpayers confidence that we’re actually going to stop the growth of unfunded liability in pensions or the growth in Medicaid?” Morrison said.
Morrison doesn’t know if anyone in the Republican party is ready to step up and challenge Jim Durkin, the House Republican leader.
“I’m not prepared to do that, and I don’t know who would rise up to do that,” Morrison said.
Morrison said the newly passed budget maintains the status quo and doesn’t touch the $15 billion in unpaid bills or do enough to address unfunded pension liability.
“We do need a budget for predictability, but the solution here was predictable,” Morrison said. “We ran out of the taxpayers' money and so we’re going to go back to the well.”