U.S. Senator Mark Kirk:
"As the economic crossroads of America, Illinois should be the best place in the nation to locate and grow a business. While we may differ on many issues, Gov. Quinn and I agree that our brightest days are ahead of us. To build a better future for Illinois families, our state leaders should be focused on solving our fiscal crisis, including unfunded pension liabilities, and not the next election. We have an incredible opportunity to right our fiscal ship and prove Illinois is without a doubt the best place in the nation to locate a business."
State Treasurer Dan Rutherford:
“The governor and the General Assembly must keep pension reform as the top priority this session. The fact of the matter is that because of its finances, the state of the state is in need of repair. Illinois’ credit rating is officially the lowest in the nation. We need strong leadership to get our state back in line. Illinois is a wonderful state with tremendous potential, but the state's pocketbook needs to get back in check.”
Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka:
"Gov. Quinn is a good-hearted man and I appreciate his efforts in delivering today's State of the State address. The fact is that despite our many challenges, there are good things happening in Illinois and many reasons to be proud to call this state our home.
"Unfortunately, our continued financial predicament overshadows these accomplishments. Today my office has more than 161,980 unpaid bills totaling more than $6.5 billion - and the state's total bill backlog reaches $9 billion. Our unfunded pension liability is $97 billion, and growing by $17 million each day. And the nation's bond rating agencies have downgraded Illinois 12 times in the last four years - giving us the worst credit in the nation and costing taxpayers more whenever the state borrows.
"This fiscal calamity hovers like a storm cloud over the state of Illinois. It will not lift until we take long-overdue steps to balance our books in the long run. We cannot afford tangents or distractions - we have to address our finances, and time is of the essence."
State Rep Jeanne Ives:
Today, as we honor the birthday and legacy of President Ronald Regan, Illinois citizens were presented with Governor Quinn’s State of the State Address. Regan once stated, “If you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.” Quinn’s statements today showed no signs that he has seen the light.
His catch-phrase was, “This is our Illinois.” In talking about “our Illinois,” the Governor pointed to the expansion of green initiatives, an investment of a longer lasting battery, government oversight of utility companies, raising the minimum wage, increased gun control and ethics reforms that have yet to be proven effective and should have never been necessary in the first place, stating “In our Illinois, we address the hard issues.”
I noticed that in his depiction of “Our Illinois” he glossed over hard issues such as the fact that:
· In our Illinois, Pre-K -12 education funding has fallen every year since 2009 (and will lose $400 million more this year), as payments into our collapsing pension system have risen from $2.2 billion to $5.1 billion in the same time
· In our Illinois, we have raised our personal and corporate income taxes and paid ALL revenues into outstanding pension obligations
· In our Illinois, We have over $200 billion in unfunded pension liabilities
· In our Illinois, we owe $6.25 billion to state vendors
· In our Illinois, we have $3 billion in unpaid Medicaid bills
· In our Illinois, we have seen 4 credit downgrades in the past 2 years
Like House Democrats, who yesterday went back on all of their campaign promises, as they shoved through an egregious, pork-laden $2.1 billion spending bill, Gov. Quinn’s State of the State Address was a disappointment.
Because Democrat legislators, who have held a majority in the General Assembly for over a decade and are now a super-majority, refuse to “see the light,” every remaining citizen in Illinois has been forced to feel the heat. And it is painful.
And in the past two days, Pat Quinn and Illinois State Democrats have proven in the past two days that they are not serious about long term solutions for easing that pain. Opting, instead to bury their heads in the sand, take any crumbs they can scrounge out of their legislation and hope that the problems just go away.
We need legislators on both sides of the aisle to have the courage to face these problems, recognize that there are no easy answers and that fundamental changes must be made. Then work to implement real, sustainable solutions.
I am willing to work with anyone who is serious about tackling these problems in an independent-minded and results-oriented manner. Politics should not stand in the way of implementing real reform, aimed at solving our pension & budget crisis, getting people in Illinois back to work and making our school system worthy of our children.
Gov. Quinn repeatedly stated there is more work to do. I agree. Illinois is laden with overwhelming and complex problems that are desperate for solutions. That, Governor Quinn, is our Illinois.
State Rep. Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake):
Springfield, IL…Before a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly,
Governor Pat Quinn delivered his State of the State speech. Quinn outlined his
priorities for the 2013 session, including pension reform, increasing Illinois’
minimum wage, and an assault weapons ban. State Rep. Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal
Lake) released this statement following the governor’s remarks on
“While I am pleased that the governor sees the reality of our broken fiscal house, we must now make the bold and courageous decisions that are needed to save us from financial collapse. Our pension system has over $100 billion in unfunded liabilities, we have nearly $9 billion in unpaid bills, and the unwanted income tax increase is set to expire in 2015. We are at the brink of our own fiscal cliff. We must act now; the people of Illinois cannot afford additional hardships in this slow moving economy.”
And this statement on raising the minimum wage:
“We are in a stagnant economy and leaders are proposing an increasing the State’s minimum wage to $10 an hour. How are employers and small businesses supposed to pay for this? The State increased business taxes to 9.3% just two years ago, didn’t go far enough in workers’ compensation reform, and now we are wanting to squeeze more out of the driving force of our economy? We need to look for ways to save employers and small businesses money before we look to increase the minimum wage.”