Friday, March 11, 2011
GOP Budget: Cuts Now Will Ease Later Pain
As Democrats try to trim close to a billion dollars from Gov. Pat Quinn's budget for the upcoming year, Republicans are unveiling their own spending plan.
Senate Republicans Thursday suggested that the only way Illinois can avoid a $22 billion deficit in five years is to slash between $4 billion and $6 billion from the fiscal year 2012 budget. The GOP leaders say the cuts will be deep, and painful. They also say they don't want to specify what they'll be.
The GOP plan uses numbers from Quinn's own budget plan, including a $1 billion difference between what the governor expects to come in and what wants to spend, and adds in about $4 billion of the state's backlog of unpaid bills. Simply adding that difference year after year, the GOP leaders say, increases the Illinois deficit to $22 billion.
McHenry County State Sen Pam Althoff said the numbers show that the recent 67-percent personal income tax increase is not enough. "Illinois will begin the next fiscal year with a deficit of $4.35 billion," Althoff said. "The state will take in $33.93 billion. But (the governor) plans to spend $34.98 billion." Althoff said unless state government stops spending, Illinois will never erase its deficit.
"No one likes the idea of borrowing," said Kelly Kraft, the governor's budget spokesperson. "But the facts are, we already owe this money."
But there may be another reason the Senate GOP is cold to the idea of borrowing. If Republicans agree to loans to erase the deficit, some fear it will only give the governor and future Democratic leaders a reason to push to make the temporary income tax increase permanent.
The Senate Republicans are promising a "menu" of cuts next week.
You can read Ben's full report at: http://illinois.statehousenewsonline.com/5331/gop-budget-up-to-6-billion-in-cuts-now-will-ease-pain-later/
In the pic: GOP Senators had charts Thursday.