By Donovan Griffith -
On Wednesday, Gov. Pat Quinn gave his State of the State speech to the Illinois General Assembly and touted what he called a “five-year blueprint” to create more jobs, deliver stronger education and build an economy that works for everyone. With such a lofty promise, one would believe the five-year blueprint was full of landmark changes and dramatic cuts, as well as improvements to Illinois’ economic landscape.
Here are some of the components of Quinn’s blueprint to change Illinois:
- Reduce LLC fee from $500 to $39 to allow for more opportunity for Illinois residents to open new businesses
- Establish a “Small Business Advocate” to focus on how Illinois policies and proposals impact small businesses
- Expand his Clean Water initiative
- Double the number of MAP grants for Illinois students
- Create “Birth to Five Initiative” that will focus on “three keys” to a healthy child: prenatal care, access to early learning opportunities and strong parent support
- Raising the minimum wage
- Double Earned Income Tax Credit
- Give earned sick days to all Illinois workers
Quinn’s blueprints also included “investing in industries that are the future of a 21st century economy” and expanding Illinois’ youth and young adult conservation corps, but he gave no details on what this means and how he plans to accomplish these goals.
While not all the pieces of Quinn’s blueprint are bad, is this enough to turn around Illinois? Do these plans make Illinois better? Is this what real reform looks like?
We need more.
What was missing in the governor’s address, other than answers on how his plans will work, is real reform and real solutions to the problems Illinois is facing. Quinn made no mention of:
- Reducing the income tax for Illinois residents
- Handling the state’s unpaid pension and bond debt
- Balancing a real budget
- Keeping Illinois businesses in the state
- Reducing Illinois’ high unemployment rate
- Creating better education opportunities for K-12 students
- Fixing Illinois’ Medicaid program
And, most importantly:
- How he plans to pay for any of his initiatives
Quinn may have some changes coming for Illinois, but we need a lot more out of him to get Illinois back on track. We need real reform.
Donovan Griffith is Manager of Government Affairs for the Illinois Policy Institute