Sen. Lauzen, Republicans unveil budget plan

By on March 28, 2011

SPRINGFIELD—Senator Chris Lauzen and Senate Republicans this week unveiled a series of spending cuts and revenue adjustments that they say would put Illinois on firm financial footing and allow the roll back of the 67 percent income tax increase enacted during the lame-duck legislative session in January.

“Last week, we laid out the disastrous financial path that Illinois will face if we follow the governor’s spending plan. We pointed out that without significant changes, Illinois is on target to accumulate a $22 billion deficit in five years, even after the staggering tax increase,” Senator Chris Lauzen (R-Aurora) said. “No one disputed those numbers.”

“We also said that we would lay out a plan that avoids the budget disaster, brings spending under control and improves the Illinois economy. Today, as promised, we are releasing that plan,” he said.

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 job-killing business tax hikes that were also enacted in January.

“Our goals are to encourage job creation in the private sector through fewer taxes and less unnecessary regulation, to pay our bills on time, and to balance the state budget without borrowing,” Lauzen said.

Lauzen and the Republican caucus provided a menu of spending cut options and revenue adjustments that totaled $6.7 billion per year. Besides cutting items designated as waste like state planes, cell phones and state automobiles, the plan says that program modifications will be necessary in state pensions and Medicaid eligibility. Lauzen said at least $4 billion would be needed to bring the budget into line by the time the temporary tax hike is set to expire, and $5 billion would be needed to allow an earlier stepped reduction in the tax increase.

“It is obvious to the great majority of people I serve that government has a spending addiction. Passing the tax increase or borrowing more is like serving another bottle of whiskey. We must substantially cut back our spending appetite,” Lauzen said.