To the editor:
Since the new governor’s inauguration, we’ve heard nothing but spending plans. It took him all but one day in office to restore salary increases for state government directors without determining how much it will cost taxpayers.
It’s ironic considering Gov. J.B. Pritzker has emphasized the need for a balanced state budget. He’s effectively ignored the necessary reforms to do just that.
Without addressing Illinois’ $133 billion of pension debt, the largest structural cost driver in Illinois, how does he expect the majority of his spending agenda to succeed?
By supporting changes to future benefits through a constitutional amendment, Pritzker could reduce pension debt while still protecting the benefits pensioners have already earned. In turn, he’d likely free up more funds to go toward his proposed agenda while staying accountable to balance the budget.
We, the taxpayers, simply can’t carry any bigger burden if he doesn’t.
If the governor is serious about balancing the budget, he should also consider adopting a spending cap. A constitutional amendment for a spending cap would provide a long-term solution to our ridiculously unbalanced budget by tying the growth of state government spending to the growth rate of Illinois’ economy.
The spending cap has received bipartisan support in the past, carried by Democratic state Sen. Tom Cullerton of Villa Park. Supporting this type of legislation again would prove lawmakers care about their constituents – and finally provide us some relief.
We can only hope more lawmakers will follow Cullerton’s lead, and that Pritzker will truly listen.