SPRINGFIELD - Though the Governor’s Feb. 6 State of the State address was upbeat, State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) said the reality is Gov. Pat Quinn’s failed leadership and ineffective policies have contributed to Illinois’ ongoing fiscal challenges.
The Senator pointed specifically the pressing need for public employee pension reform, saying he was disappointed the Governor didn’t focus greater attention on what is largely considered to be the biggest issue facing state lawmakers.
“Over the last four years Pat Quinn has failed to effectively work with the Legislature—controlled by his own political party—to pass any type of pension reform. Not only are the state’s pension obligations squeezing out revenue needed for other vital government functions and services, they are squeezing private sector jobs out of Illinois and across our border,” said Dillard, who noted pension concerns recently prompted a state investor to establish a new $1.4 billion fertilizer plant in Iowa rather than Illinois.
The Senator said he hopes Gov. Quinn was serious about pursuing policies to support Illinois’ business community, though expressed doubts the Governor is committed to advancing an agenda to truly benefit the state’s employers. Dillard has consistently advocated for policies that boost job creators as a way to make Illinois a “destination economy.”
“While Governor Quinn didn’t create all our problems, the state’s credit rating—as evidenced by the 11 credit downgrades Illinois has received since he took office—show he has made Illinois’ problems worse,” said Sen. Dillard. “The bottom line is that no state ever taxed or borrowed its way into prosperity, and after four years it is clear that it isn’t in Pat Quinn’s DNA to cut the budget or make the difficult choices necessary to improve our economy.
“Despite the Governor’s 67 percent income tax increase, the backlog of state bills remains at an all-time, pension obligations continue to grow and Illinois’ unemployment rate far exceeds the national average. I look forward to Governor Quinn’s budget address next month, where hopefully he will provide specifics on how he plans to tackle the state’s significant budget challenges,” said Dillard.