It wasn’t long ago when failed GOP Governor Bruce Rauner claimed the General Assembly’s bipartisan budget stabilization efforts would all but destroy Illinois. Well, if April 2019 state revenues are considered, Rauner remains consistently wrong.
Last week, Governor JB Pritzker’s revenue and budget experts announced a remarkable and unexpected jump of $1.5 billion in April 2019 tax receipts. With so many tough budget decisions to make, the 38% increase over forecasts has released a small measure of pressure as next years’ fiscal plans continue to be crafted.
Since the Great Recession of the early 2000s, Illinois has struggled to build stability for state finances and the economy. While other states began to dig out of their fiscal holes, out-of-touch Republicans like Bruce Rauner drove Illinois through ditches. In fact, at the close of Rauner’s four-year term, taxpayers were left on the hook for more than $1 billion in interest payments alone! That’s the chaos of Republican fiscal policy.
Governor JB Pritzker says the welcome news of the unexpected boost in revenues has led to some change in his proposed budget plans. The governor has removed a controversial pension payment restructuring plan off the table. Instead, most of the additional revenue, the governor says, should be dedicated to making the required payments for Illinois’ retirement security systems.
It is important to remember that the unexpected revenue intake likely remains a one-time adjustment. The need for fundamental modernization and reform of Illinois’ unfair tax system is still more important than ever. It’s why the fair tax effort and the economic stability that comes with it continues to be a major priority of Illinois Democrats.