SPRINGFIELD - Illinois lawmakers reacted to Governor Quinn's state of the state address with varying degrees of frustration and outrage. Below are reactions from State Rep. Mike Unes, Tom Morrison, Barbara Wheeler, Mike Tryon and Joe Sosnowski:
State Senator Sue Rezin (R-Morris):
“Governor Quinn kept saying that Illinois is making a comeback throughout his speech, but he must have a different definition of a comeback than I do,” Sen. Rezin said. “Illinois is projected to be last in the nation in job growth, has the worst financial condition of any state, and has the fourth highest unemployment rate in the nation and the worst credit in the nation. He mentioned that our backlog of bills has gone down, but just a few weeks ago, his own office projected that the backlog will grow from $6 billion to $16 billion by fiscal year 17. People are not fooled. Unfortunately, we are seeing more people leave Illinois than move in due to the fiscal mismanagement and poor job opportunities. Governor Quinn mentioned a few positive initiatives, like incentives for small businesses and improvements to infrastructure, but once again we saw lofty goals with little details on how to pay for them and no plan for how to get our fiscal house in order.”
State Rep. Mike Unes (R-East Peoria):
“Gov. Quinn spoke about a lot of feel good issues today. Listening to him it might be easy to forget that here in Illinois we have billions in unpaid bills, that our schools are owed hundreds of millions of dollars, and that we still have nearly double digit unemployment,” said Unes from Springfield on Wednesday.
Unes went on to say, “I was hoping to hear a non-political, policy-oriented speech this year, because during this coming session we will need to address the major issue of spending reforms to accommodate the income tax increase beginning to sunset. Unfortunately, his speech was too political. It was an election year speech with more of the same- new spending proposals.”
State Rep. Tom Morrison (R-Arlington Heights):
“When he should have been discussing the grave state of Illinois finances, Governor Quinn kicked off his 2014 re-election campaign today by painting a rosy, yet inaccurate picture of the state of our state. The truth is that during Pat Quinn’s five years in office Illinoisans have suffered a great deal. Taxes are higher, unemployment remains the highest in the Midwest, and Illinois is predicted to be dead-last this year when it comes to projected job growth for 2014. Something’s got to change.
“The Governor proposed reducing the LLC fee for new Illinois businesses but failed to mention that House Republicans proposed that exact bill in February of 2013. I am a co-sponsor of HB2230 and wonder where the Governor’s support for this bill was last year. HB2230 was buried in the Rules Committee and the Governor did nothing to ensure the bill was heard.
“When the legislature pushed through the tax increase in January of 2011, it was sold as a temporary measure that would allow for bills to be paid down. Today we have depressed job growth, a backlog of unpaid bills that was at $9 billion at the end of 2013, and Illinois is in its worst fiscal shape ever. The temporary tax increase is set to begin rolling back at the end of this year and the overburdened Illinois taxpayers need to be able to rely on the promise that tax relief is one year away. Illinois must rein in spending and start living within its means once and for all."
State Rep. Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake):
“I was extremely disappointed by the Governor’s speech today. He seems out of touch with the fiscal realities of our state and with the fact that current policies are hurting Illinois families. Citizens deserved to hear a well-thought-out plan for creating jobs and rolling back taxes. What they heard instead was another chapter from the tax-and-spend playbook that is crippling our state.
“Our employers want to grow without the consistent threat of new taxes and burdensome regulations. I heard nothing today that related to lowering taxes and making Illinois a more business-friendly state."
State Rep. Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake):
“The Governor proposed reducing the LLC fee that new businesses pay in Illinois but failed to mention that House Republicans proposed that fee reduction in February 2013 through HB 2230. I am the Chief Co-Sponsor of this bill and have to wonder why the Governor did nothing to see the bill move. HB2230 was buried in the Rules Committee and never scheduled for a hearing.
“Any discussion regarding an increase to the minimum wage needs to include a conversation about how Illinois can become competitive for attracting jobs. It’s not China we’re competing with when it comes to Illinois job creation; it’s Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky and Iowa. If we are going to improve the job climate in our state it is imperative that our businesses are able to afford to add new jobs.
“Today the Governor painted a rosy picture of Illinois’ outlook when the truth is that during his five years in office Illinois and its citizens have suffered. Illinois has 110,000 fewer jobs than when Pat Quinn became Governor and 39,000 more people are unemployed. Moody’s has ranked Illinois dead-last in projected job growth for this year, so something has to change. The majority party’s playbook of raising taxes and over-regulating businesses is simply not working. It’s time for a new path.”
“The Governor spoke today about the tough decisions that he has made in his time to help turn Illinois around. The reality is Illinois has 110,000 fewer jobs than when Pat Quinn became governor. Illinois’ unemployment rate is the 4th worst of any state. Despite this, Governor Quinn claims he has created jobs,” said Sosnowski. “Our taxes are higher than ever and our debt is worse than when he started. Unfortunately, the Governor doesn’t seem to be able to make any progress when it comes to the issues that matter to families and businesses.”
State Rep. Joe Sosnowski (R-Belvidere):
“Illinois families need security and good jobs. The Governor spoke about the minimum wage, but there is no clear plan on how we are going to create good paying jobs for families to prosper, not just survive. The state should focus on creating more good paying jobs with benefits, not just sustainment. This is possible by creating a better economic environment so that Illinois can once again be a competitive state to do business in,” said Sosnowski.