Republicans say state windfall means new taxes aren't needed
SPRINGFIELD -- One day after lawmakers learned the state collected $1.5 billion more in tax revenue than was expected in April, House Republican leadership argued Wednesday that the good news is proof that new taxes are not needed to right the state's financial ship.
"The numbers are clear," House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs said at a Capitol news conference. "We now have the money to balance the budget with no new taxes, no tax increases. There's no need to talk about raising taxes on bags, cigarettes, businesses or the middle class. And there is certainly no reason to be even considering a graduated tax."
On Tuesday, the greater-than-anticipated revenue was announced in a letter written by Department of Revenue Director David Harris and Alexis Sturm, director of the Governor's Office of Management and Budget.
The Department of Revenue also raised its official estimate of next year's tax collections by $800 million. That allowed Gov. J.B. Pritzker to scrap an unpopular proposal that would have decreased the statutorily mandated state contribution to the pension fund for fiscal year 2020 by about $800 million, allocating the money to other state spending.
"The thought of another pension holiday as a shortcut to meaningful budget negotiations was simply wrong," Deputy House Republican Leader Dan Brady of Bloomington said. "And I'm glad we were able to take that bad idea off the table for now. And I'm hopeful that it stays off."