FROM STATE SENATOR KYLE MCCARTER
Web site: http://senatormccarter.com
McCarter: It’s time for a Reality Check
Illinois’ financial disaster and how to solve it
For Immediate Release
March 17, 2011
Springfield . . . For weeks, State Senator Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) has been working on a state budget plan that begins to tackle Illinois’ massive debt problem and put the state back on the road to financial stability. That plan was revealed Thursday by McCarter and his Senate Republican colleagues.
“The only way to begin addressing Illinois’ unprecedented debt problem is to take a real hard look at the facts, a ‘Reality Check,’ and then take the appropriate action to fix it,” said McCarter.
The plan contains a series of spending and revenue adjustments to return the state to financial stability and allow the roll back of the 67% income tax increase enacted during the lame-duck legislative session in January.
“This is a bold, responsible plan and I think it shows the people of Illinois we care enough to tell them the truth and the truth is government cannot continue to live like this, we have to live within our means,” said McCarter.
McCarter said the plan also marks a step forward in communicating with the people of Illinois. Details of the proposal are able for viewing on an Internet web site at www.illinoisrealitycheck.com. Included on the site is a short video explaining the financial problem, its impact on the lives of Illinois residents and what can be done to address this crisis.
“We are in tune with the way people communicate today and I encourage everyone to view it, read it and pass it along to their families and friends,” said McCarter. “The power to change direction lies with the people. Get informed, get involved and join us in setting Illinois back on the path of financial stability.”
Last week, Senate Republicans laid out the disastrous financial path Illinois will face if Governor’s Quinn’s budget proposal is the blueprint for the future. They said without significant changes, Illinois is on target to accumulate a $22 billion deficit in five years.
“We must reform and streamline government to make it more efficient and live within our means by cutting back on spending,” said McCarter. “Government can never tax enough and borrow enough, if it doesn’t stop spending more money than it receives from taxpayers.”
The GOP caucus determined that $5 billion in spending and revenue changes would allow the state to roll back the full income tax increase and eliminate the job-killing business tax hikes that were also enacted in the middle of the night in January. After Senate Republicans outlined the grim financial future facing Illinois a week ago, neither the Governor nor his legislative allies refuted the numbers.
Sen. McCarter said the Republican plan preserves core government services but it does involve difficult choices.
“We’re going to have to look at pensions and health care premiums for state retirees, we’re going to have to consider cuts to education and human services but I will say the proposed reductions in spending in this plan are fair because we looked at reforms and efficiencies first,” said McCarter. “We did our best to limit cuts to those sensitive programs.”
Senate Republicans unveiled a menu of items that would total about $6.7 billion in reductions and financial improvements. At least $4 billion would be needed to bring the budget into line by the time the temporary tax hike is set to expire in four years and $5 billion would be needed to allow an earlier stepped reduction in the tax increases.
We don’t have any guarantee that the Governor and legislative Democrats will accept this plan,” said McCarter. “But Republicans can no longer just say no. It’s time we step out and lead and propose a responsible plan to put this state back on track and living within its means.”
McCarter said citizens who contact him are amazed that while their families, their businesses and their churches have learned to live within their means during the recession, the only entity that hasn’t is state government in Illinois.”