As the new year begins, we often think of New Year’s resolutions and new beginnings. It’s seen as an opportunity to look forward toward a better future by making changes that improve our selves.
Illinois has a TON of opportunity to find a realistic New Year’s Resolution. We all know that our State is broken and change is needed. Remember that “those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.”
We just ended a decade of one-party rule. Over that time, pension payments were skipped, taxes were raised 67 percent, education funding was decreased, unpaid bills increased, and the number of people on Medicaid more than doubled from 1.5 million to 3.25 million.
The last budget Illinois had was $36.5 billion. The last budgets proposed by the Illinois House Speaker have been $38 billion and $40 billion. And, by the way, we have $32 billion in revenue.
As we look forward, we didn’t get here overnight, so we need to start with some simple long-term New Year’s resolutions (The Taxpayers Fiscal Charter):
1. A two-year freeze on discretionary spending.
2. No new programs or expansions until all bills are paid within 30 days.
3. No new programs or expansions unless a full pension payment is made.
4. Pay-As-You-Go: Any new spending must be accompanied by the revenue or cuts necessary to sustain the program.
5. No unfunded mandates to schools or other units of local government. If a proposal is important enough to be mandated, it should be important enough to fund.
6. The State is required to publish the estimated income, balance sheet, cash flow and surplus or deficit prior to passing any appropriation bills. All appropriation bills will be required to be published electronically 72 hours before any vote is taken.
These are simple New Year’s resolutions that will stop the financial bleeding and create a stable base on which to grow our economy, create jobs and finally move Illinois forward.