House Republican Leader Tom Cross: We must hold the line on spending…No expansion of programs…No raises for elected officials or state employees

Letters to Editor

(From House Republican Leader Tom Cross)

 

We passed a resolution in the Illinois House Thursday establishing a conservative revenue estimate to guide our state budget process this year.  We are continuing to drive our budget numbers down in an effort to get our state back on sound fiscal footing.

The $33.7 billion figure is even more conservative than revenue projections from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability and the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget – for good reason.

As policymakers, we are keenly aware of the very deep and serious challenges facing Illinois families and employers in these uncertain economic times. The recent spike in fuel prices has only added to that uncertainty and strain on family budgets.

The conservative revenue estimate we adopted today is an important first step in our budget process.  Our next step is to craft a fiscally responsible budget that forces the state to live within its means. We will fight to ensure that spending is less than our revenue projection – and less than we spent last year.

In order to get our budget and bill backlog under control, we MUST spend less than we did last year. To accomplish this, we will need to work together to dramatically change the way business is done in Springfield.

We must hold the line on spending.  No expansion of programs.  No raises for elected officials or state employees.

We must also have meaningful and substantive pension reform that stabilizes our systems and slows the significant strain on our budget; achieving balance between preserving a secure retirement for current and future retirees while at the same time saving the entire system from financial collapse.

It is also imperative that the Governor’s administration fully implements the Medicaid reforms we enacted last year, which would dramatically reduce fraud and abuse while saving the state upwards of $1 billion.

We agree with the Governor when he said we cannot delay on these items for one more year.  We simply cannot afford it.

Finally, at the same time we are whipping our budget into shape, we need to be concentrating on ways to grow our economy.

We cannot ignore the need for tax and regulatory relief.  Employers and entrepreneurs across Illinois are struggling to make ends meet just as families are. We must reverse anti-business tax and regulation policies that drive jobs and opportunity across the border to neighboring states. Our number one legislative priority must be enacting policies that encourage employers to stay and expand in our state.

The time for action is now. Tough decisions require leadership that understands what’s truly at stake. In our case, what’s at stake is the future – a future of economic growth and opportunity for the next generation of Illinois families – only if we succeed in our mission to fundamentally change course in Springfield – this year.

Tom Cross

House Republican Leader

State Representative – 84th District