Senate republicans discuss what's holding back the state's economy

Feb 19, 2014

Wednesday was supposed to be when Illinois' chief executive laid out his spending plan. Instead, we'll have to wait until late next month, after the primary election.  As IPR'S Amanda Vinicky reports, Republicans used the occasion to highlight what they say is holding back the state's economy.

Figuring out what to do about Illinois' next budget is going to be tricky. A hike in Illinois' income tax rate is set to rollback halfway through the year, leading to a monster hole in the state's finances. That would be tough to deal with anytime.

But there's an election ahead.  So lawmakers are uneasy about taking unpopular votes.  Not to mention the extra political posturing the comes with a governor's race.

Republicans, like Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine, say Gov. Pat Quinn is delaying his budget address for political reasons, when he should be hurrying to face up to the state's looming deficit.

"There's no real legitimate reason for it, other than politics. It's a lack of transparency and it's another example of Pat Quinn putting Pat Quinn before the people of the state."

Though Democrats control state government, Senate President John Cullerton says Republicans should be ready with specifics, rather than blanket demands for "cuts."

Senate Republicans  came back instead with a policy wish list. It mentions eliminating a couple of programs -- nothing that would make even a dent in the budget -- as well as a call to make Illinois' workers' compensation system more business-friendly.