It’s that time again, when the politicians who run our state ramp up the campaign rhetoric and election year spin to convince voters they deserve to be re-elected. That’s exactly what we can expect as Governor Pritzker gives the final joint State of the State and Budget Address of his term.
Today, Governor Pritzker will try to convince Illinois families that under his tenure, Illinois is somehow financially stable now, and that our state is better since he took office. Yet, the Governor’s track record of more government spending, pushing tax increases, and signing extreme policies that hurt Illinois families is something no amount of political showmanship can cover up.
The residents of Illinois have to realize the sad truth that Pritzker can’t be trusted, and nothing underscores that better than his latest political ploy. The very same Governor who less than two years ago attempted to pass the largest tax hike in Illinois history is suddenly trying to portray himself as a tax cutter.
In what everyone will quickly realize is an election year gimmick, the Governor is expected to dangle a one year suspension of some taxes totaling $1 billion. This ploy is strictly an attempt to distract voters from his tax-raising past and how he has avoided any real solutions to the state’s fiscal problems. History speaks for itself. Governor Pritzker has pushed for tax hikes since the day he took office. It’s not coincidence these relief measures – all paid for by the federal government – will hit taxpayer pockets four months before Election Day.
Just two years ago, he painted a gloomy financial future for Illinois by promising tax hikes on everyone and draconian cuts to programs, including holding education funding hostage, if voters didn’t approve his graduated tax amendment.
Taxpayers didn’t succumb to those threats, resoundingly rejecting his tax hike across the state. After losing that battle, Pritzker punished Illinois businesses by taking away tax incentives that help them thrive and be competitive.
Since then, no meaningful spending reform has taken place. The Governor was bailed out by massive, one-time federal COVID stimulus and is using those resources to paper over our financial problems. Once those resources run dry, Pritzker is bound to push for even more tax increases as he’s proven his unwillingness to streamline programs and reform government.
Governor Pritzker will also attempt to convince us that he’s leading on the issue of public safety. As communities in all corners of our state struggle with escalating crime, we know the Governor’s own soft-on-crime, anti-police record has contributed to the public safety crisis we now face.
After letting violent criminals out of prison early, signing legislation that severely limits the ability of law enforcement officers to do their job, and supporting a Cook County State’s Attorney who refuses to prosecute violent criminals, Pritzker has already chosen his side on this issue.
It’s hypocritical to talk about cracking down on crime when his actions, in part, are responsible for the current uptick. If we let Pritzker’s anti-police bill fully go into effect, we can expect crime to get worse and recruitment and retention of law enforcement officers to become even more difficult.
While Pritzker will probably introduce an inadequate public safety proposal, one thing he likely won’t bring up is the state of corruption in Illinois. After running on ethics reform, Pritzker immediately backtracked once he took office.
We’ve seen federal indictments under Pritzker’s tenure and scandals within his own administration, and we still haven’t seen the Governor push for true anti-corruption reforms. It’s disappointing, but not surprising that someone who bankrolled Rod Blagojevich and enabled Mike Madigan wouldn’t take corruption seriously, and instead, turns a blind eye to it.
As Illinoisans consider the true State of the State, we know Illinois is worse off than it was three years ago when Pritzker took office. We must meaningfully control spending, lower taxes, work to make Illinois a place where every family is safe and can afford to live, and insist that we hold elected officials accountable. Governor Pritzker has failed. It’s clear that Governor Pritzker can’t be trusted with our state any longer.