"Illinois is clearly in dire straits financially. The fact that nineteen percent of the state's budget will be used to pay for pension obligations demonstrates that Illinois cannot move forward until the Governor and General Assembly pass a real and meaningful reform of the pension system. Until that occurs, Illinois' pension costs will continue to strangle key education, economic development, and public safety programs critical to job creation. While we appreciate the Governor's continued laser-focus on pension reform, his proposal to raise taxes on employers by nearly a half billion annually is the wrong answer. We need to encourage economic growth and job creation, this tax proposal will be another chilling effect on businesses and will lead to more Illinoisans out of work. The Governor hiked the income tax by billions of dollars two years ago with a promise to pay down bills and fund pensions and we are in worse shape today."