'Lipstick reforms' won't cover up Illinois' problems, Wheeler contends
Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) describes the bills making up the recently passed Illinois budget as "lipstick reforms" — cosmetic offerings that might mask but offer no significant solutions to the problems plaguing the state.
Wheeler made his argument during House debate on Gov. Bruce Rauner's vetoes of the three bills, hoping to persuade his colleagues not to override the vetoes.
“We can’t just accept watered-down bills that will have minimal savings and have virtually no impact just so that we can call them reforms,” Wheeler said. “Concrete reforms with real savings are required and long overdue to save Illinois. For two and a half years, we’ve been working on these reforms -- real reforms. We can’t keep stalling and passing reforms in name only that won’t actually change the status quo.”
Despite Wheeler’s pleas, the House voted to override Rauner’s vetoes on SB6, SB9, and SB42.
The bills will provide Illinois with a $36 billion spending plan made possible in part by a permanent 32 percent increase on individual and corporate taxes. Illinoisans will now pay 4.95 percent instead of 3.75 percent on personal income and corporations will pay 7 percent instead of 5.25.
House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) needed 71 votes to approve the overrides. SB9 passed 71-42, SB6 passed 74-37, and SB42 passed 71-41.
With the state’s bond rating in in jeopardy despite the late budget passage, Wheeler admonished the General Assembly for the delay.
“It should really disappoint all Illinoisans that the General Assembly did not do its job and send a budget along with substantial reforms to the governor’s desk back in May to avoid this potential catastrophe,” Wheeler said.
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider has also expressed deep disappointment with the budget and the GOP lawmakers who voted to override the vetoes.
“After all we have accomplished together, it is astonishing that these legislators would now turn their backs on taxpayers across the state,” Schneider said. “I am confident voters will hold those politicians accountable for choosing Mike Madigan over the people of Illinois.”
Rauner called the overrides another step in “Illinois' never-ending tragic trail of tax hikes."
Wheeler concluded his speech by saying legislators must change.
“It’s time for us to get real,” he said. “It’s time for us to work and get these reforms into actual statute. This is what the General Assembly should have done and we could have done back in the spring of 2015. Reforms first - they change how we do our budget. Then we can sit down and get a real budget done.”
Organizations in this Story
959 Oak Street
North Aurora, IL - 60542