Southern Illinois lawmakers skeptical of Gov. Pritzker's propose - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Southern Illinois lawmakers skeptical of Gov. Pritzker's proposed $39 billion budget

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. --Governor J.B. Pritzker laid out his plans for generating new revenue Wednesday in his first budget address. In his $39 billion budget proposal, he addressed many controversial topics. He proposed big changes to create a balanced budget, but southern Illinois lawmakers remain skeptical.

"We talked about new revenues which are taxes, so we are looking for different ways to tax people and people are already taxed enough," said Rep. Dave Severin.

Rep. Patrick Windhorst added, "I don't think it addresses the financial realities in our state."

During Wednesday's address, Gov. Pritzker proposed legalizing and taxing marijuana and sports gambling, and shaving $800-million dollars from pension payments.

He also discussed his plan for a fair tax plan. But downstate lawmakers say his plan doesn't include keeping people in southern Illinois.

"People in our districts are leaving for more attracting states for the opportunities and the lower tax burden that they have there and until we address those issues, we cannot keep people in southern Illinois," said Rep. Windhorst.

"More spending, more fees, there is no component in this for paying down the backlog of bills," said Rep. Bryant. "It's all whether or not we pass a progressive income tax."

Senator Dale Fowler added, "He did mention southern Illinois but he didn't really go into detail about southern Illinois."

Governor Pritzker insisted, the state must learn from the past. But Sen. Paul Schimpf says the same past mistakes are in this budget, including, "ever growing government, not trying to cut spending and just trying to increase taxes to balance our budget."

"I was disappointed in that," said Schimpf.

Governor Pritzker says he wants lawmakers to come together to make Illinois better.

"I want downstate Republicans and Democrats to work together with me on a Downstate Revitalization Plan to encourage the creation of new businesses and jobs and foster the growth of existing ones in struggling communities so they can thrive," said Pritzker.

All southern Illinois lawmakers who spoke with News 3 say they are optimistic there will be a balanced budget by the time it comes to sign a new fiscal budget into law by the end of the legislative session.

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