Budget “Losers”, Venue Rigging, June Traveling Office Hours, and More

More Spending, More Budget “Losers”

In the early morning hours today we got our first look at the Democrats’ Fiscal Year 2024 “Budget Agreement” that was announced with much fanfare earlier this week. The $50 BILLION, 4,000 page spending plan passed the Senate last night with all Republicans (and a handful of Democrats) voting no. We will begin debate on the budget after midnight tonight. I’m voting no.  

More details will come in the next update, but here are some of the important points about the proposed plan:

  • Includes legislative pay raises, with specific salary appropriations per member of $89,675 (increased from $85,000 in FY23).
  • Includes $550 million in funding for undocumented immigrants, which is a $550 million shortfall compared to current law estimates showing a $1.1 billion liability for the program.
  • Does not include appropriations increases to pay for upcoming the new AFSCME contract that will be in effect in FY24 – unknown fiscal impact, but potentially $200-$300 million.
  • Funds the brand new programs, such as the Governor’s Home Illinois and Smart Start Program despite the fact that we are facing a failure in revenue.
  • Passed the Senate chamber without clear guidance on what the revenue estimate vs the spending.

The Biggest “Losers” in this Year’s Budget

  • The taxpayers in Illinois – This budget sets Illinoisans up for a major tax increase by adding major programmatic spending and hiding those costs in future fiscal years.
  • Economically disadvantaged students who are going to see their scholarships eliminated at the end of the calendar year due to Democrats total inaction on the Invest in Kids Act.
  • Those who live in crime-ridden areas of the state, who continue to suffer and live in fear as democrats continue to ignore victims and further enact policies that incentivize crime and reward bad behavior.
  • Small farms and businesses who continue to be punished by the state’s overly burdensome estate tax.
  • The developmentally disabled population and those who have been waiting for years on the PUNS list because there is a staff shortage due to the abysmal pay these workers receive.
  • Hospitals that have been without a rate increase for 29 years, and now will only see half of the request come to fruition.
  • Communities who would stand to benefit from major investment from businesses that are clamoring for a larger R&D tax credit.

Venue-Rigging Lawsuits Against the State

 I also voted against legislation pushed through the General Assembly this week that will take away your right to challenge a state law by filing suit in your own home county. House Bill 3062 will strictly limit lawsuits challenging state laws (like the legal challenges to Democrats’ Firearms Ban) to either Cook or Sangamon Counties, which will heavily favor the state. In other words, if you live in Woodford County, you will be unable to file your challenge and have it heard in Woodford County. Legislators in favor claim the bill puts an end to “venue shopping”. In reality, it institutes “venue rigging” in favor of the state.

 No Ethics Reforms

One of my biggest disappointments this spring has been the complete lack of real, meaningful ethics reforms for elected officials. There are two specific reforms that I believe are very sorely needed. Watch below.

Rep. Tipsword Speaks Out on Needed Ethics Reforms (reptipsword.com)

Around the District

My Traveling Office Hours start next week in Metamora. Please stop by if you are in the area! More June dates and locations are coming soon.

Due to the extended legislative session I had to reschedule the Open House/Chamber After Hours that was to have taken place last night at my district office in Pontiac. Mark your calendars for the rescheduled date July 13th!