Grant Rejects Pritzker Decision to Tie FY21 Budget to Passage of Graduated Income Tax
On February 19, Governor JB Pritzker presented his annual Budget Address where he outlined a Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) spending plan that increases state operating expenditures by $2.2 billion for the budget year that begins on July 1, 2020. With record-high revenue coming into the state, Pritzker walked away from the opportunity to present a balanced budget with no new taxes or tax increases, and instead went with the typical Democrat tax-and-spend agenda.
With the booming economy across the country, Illinois is reaping the benefits of more people working and paying taxes, which creates more revenue through economic growth. There is simply no need to raise taxes to balance the budget. We need to let economic growth drive our revenues and then live within those means.
In addition to my objection to the spending increase, I take issue with the Governor’s approach for how he is selling his budget plan. He tied Illinois’ fiscal future to the passage of his graduated income tax proposal by holding back $1.4 million from key budget areas, like schools, health care and public safety. His ‘pass my graduated income tax Constitutional Amendment or else’ rhetoric was a bullying tactic. It was not well-received by a great number of lawmakers listening to the speech. If you’d like to join me in objecting to the Governor’s decision to tie budget funding for schools, health care and public safety to the passage of his graduated income tax proposal, please sign a petition that can be found here.
I was pleased to hear that the Governor is interested in addressing wide-spread problems at the Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS), but again, more money isn’t necessarily the right or only answer. The Democrats who control Springfield are always quick to throw more money at problems, when perhaps a better approach would be a top-to-bottom audit of DCFS so that root causes of agency failings can be identified and remedied.
The Governor also used some incredibly low numbers to account for the state’s cost in complying with the minimum wage hike Democrats pushed through in 2019. Last year the Pritzker administration said compliance with the minimum wage increase would cost $270 million in FY21 alone, meanwhile groups representing human service providers across the state have estimated the compliance cost to be closer to $400 million. But in his proposed budget, Pritzker now claims the minimum wage hike would cost only $68 million in general revenue funds in FY21. It’s an unrealistic figure that suggests the Pritzker administration is hiding the minimum wage hike’s true cost. We need clear and transparent numbers that accurately reflect real budget expenditures, particularly in relation to costs associated with the minimum wage. Making intentionally low cost estimates only perpetuates unbalanced budgets and a dishonest budgeting process.
Following the Governor’s speech, I gave a radio interview and gave my reaction to the introduced FY21 budget. Click here to listen to that interview.
Rep. Amy Grant to Host Third DMV Assistance Event
Due to the popularity of my previous mobile DMV assistance events, I will be hosting another mobile DMV at my Wheaton office on Friday, March 13. Residents of the 42nd District can avoid the long lines to renew traditional driver’s licenses and receive access to other basic services by making an appointment to stop by my office, located at 416 E. Roosevelt Road, Suite 111 in Wheaton, on March 13.
Secretary of State’s Office employees will be available to meet with constituents from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM. During this time they will be able to process basic driver’s license and license plate renewals, vehicle sticker renewal, and address changes. Please note that as a mobile facility, services will NOT include driver’s tests or REAL IDs. Drivers over the age of 75 must visit the permanent DMV centers for their driver’s license renewals. We do not provide driver’s testing of any kind.
Given the limited timeframe, appointments are required. Click here to make an appointment. You can also make an appointment by calling my District office at (331) 218-4182.
Standard Secretary of State fees will be required for services provided. Information regarding the services, fees and identification requirements may be found at the Secretary of State’s website at www.cyberdriveillinois.com. At this time, the Mobile Driver Services Facility is unable to accept cash. Please bring a check, credit/debit card, or money order to pay for any services received.
Rep. Grant Files Comprehensive Legislative Agenda for 2020
Members of the House and Senate had to file their substantive bills for 2020 prior to the bill filing deadline of Friday, February 14. House committees are now meeting regularly to consider these bills, and committee meeting schedules will intensify as the spring legislative session advances.
For 2020, I have filed a comprehensive legislative agenda that protects taxpayers, improves government ethics and transparency, and addresses public safety concerns. I will be highlighting these bills in the coming weeks. You can read my bills and follow their progress at this link, found on the ilga.gov web site.
The Bag Tax is Back! Add Your Voice to the Bill Debate!
Chicago Democrat State Representative Ann Williams has filed HB 3335, a measure that would further tax Illinoisans by requiring a ten-cent carryout bag tax on all carryout bags from retail establishments. In reading this bill, one thing jumped out at me right away. The tax would not apply in the city where the bill sponsor lives. She exempted her constituents and others who live in Chicago from this proposed tax. While the tax would not apply in Chicago, the City would benefit from the funds collected through this new tax.
When HB 3335 bill is assigned for a committee hearing, residents will have an opportunity to file a witness slip against this new attack on Illinois taxpayers. Witness slips are important, because before a bill is heard in a committee, the chairperson will read the number of witness slips that have been filed in favor of, and opposed to, the bill. I will be following this bill closely and will use my E-newsletter to alert constituents that the witness slip portal is open.
A Day in the Life of a State Lawmaker
On session days in Springfield, State Representatives have busy days filled with meetings, committee hearings and time spent on the House floor considering bills. But what about the other days, when we are back in our home districts? I enjoy my time in the District when I can connect with the people I represent so I can learn about the issues that are most important to them.
Our House photographer recently shadowed me for a day in the 42nd district. Click here to see a glimpse into a typical day when I’m tending to the needs of my constituents in the 42nd District.