Wednesday, the Illinois House and Senate will convene in the Capitol to hear Governor Quinn give his State of the State address. This will be the fourth address that I have attended and here is what I would like to here, “the State of our State is strong and improving every day. The economy is dramatically better, and our finances are in great shape. Still, there is much more work to be done.” By the way, these were the opening words of Governor Scott Walker’s State of the State in Wisconsin last week.
Last year, Governor Quinn talked about all the heroes and champions in the state, but more so about how far Illinois had progressed and what a positive direction Illinois was moving. Candidly, his speech last year sounded just like words spoken by Governor Walker last Friday. But one big difference exists. Governor Walker can look statistically at the positive direction he has moved Wisconsin – Governor Quinn cannot.
In truth, Wisconsin is a rising star in the nation with a positive reputation. After all, this year Wisconsin is nearly a billion dollars in the black, all bills due are paid and the state’s pension funds are fully funded. The story in Illinois is quite the opposite regardless of what Governor Quinn says in his remarks on Wednesday. Illinois’ future is not optimistic and machine style politicians from Chicago have no plan or even meaningful ideas to fix the monumental problems that Illinoisans are saddled. Let’s be clear, our leaders in Springfield are more interested in getting their side of the isle re-elected than providing security and opportunity for Illinois’ residents. So how can Wisconsin be contemplating the return of a billion dollar surplus and Illinois contemplate a progressive tax?
Two years ago Governor Walker took on the tough issues, he lead and he managed Wisconsin to a state of fiscal well-being by putting his state in a fiscally sound position. That was Walker’s goal when he campaigned and he accomplished his goal by taking on several special interest groups by the way of real legislative reforms such as; Workers’ Compensation Reform, Tort Reform, Tax Reform and Medicaid Reform – just to name a few bigger issues he tackled.
On the other hand, Illinois has rejected any true reform in each and every key area tackled by Governor Walker; and flatly turned their back on corruption in our state that cost Illinois’ taxpayers billions annually.
When Walker’s “Blueprint for Prosperity” is passed this year it will bring tax relief of almost $2 billion since he took office. A part of his plan cuts property taxes $406 million, returning $101 on average to each homeowner. On the other hand, Governor Quinn (in 2009) signed into law the largest tax increase in Illinois history on citizens and businesses which brought in $7 billion annually – and Illinois’ fiscal condition has not improved. In fact, Illinois’ net migration of residents is second only to New Jersey and the business climate is so bad that Wisconsin now has attracted Illinois to come over the border.
I am not expecting Governor Quinn’s message to contain a plan or even an accurate assessment of Illinois’ fiscal insecurity – it is an election year. But when our Governor tells us “the State of our State is strong and improving every day. The economy is dramatically better, and our finances are in good shape,” keep in mind that these statements apply to Wisconsin, not Illinois.
Good government starts by telling the truth.
-State Representative Dwight Kay, 112th District
To view Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's 'State of the State' click here.
To view Governor Quinn's 'State of the State' LIVE Wednesday, January 29th at Noon, click here.