Amrozowicz pleased with stopgap budget, but wants lasting change
The Illinois stopgap budget, passed by Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic lawmakers in late June, has provided some relief to several state agencies and groups; however, it is also looked upon as a concern to many others.
Mike Amrozowicz, a Republican running for the District 31 State Senate seat, is one such person who is concerned. While he acknowledges the positives of the stopgap, he notices very little change in regard to the mindset of Democratic lawmakers.
“The stopgap budget was required to get our schools open in the fall,” Amrozowicz told the Lake County Gazette. “However, my concern in passing a short-term budget like this is that our Democrat-controlled state legislature stays in the mindset of maintaining its long-standing practice of kicking the can down the road.”
Amrozowicz said that since the stopgap budget was passed, he has not heard or read of any discussion by House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Dist. 22) or Senate President John Cullerton (D-Dist. 6) about a balanced budget, which Amrozowicz said is required by the Illinois Constitution.
While the stopgap budget provides relief during a yearlong budget crisis and will finance vital services such as education through the end of December, it does not provide the state with what it needs: an efficient and long-term budget. Amrozowicz is calling for fixes in not just the budget process, but in taxes, businesses and job creation.
“The people of our district are looking for leadership and substance to get past the ongoing budget impasse,” Amrozowicz said. “The problems we face in Illinois are systemic and cannot be addressed with short-term solutions. We have one of the worst business climates in the nation, our manufacturing base is breaking down at an alarming rate, our property taxes are the worst in the country, we have one of the highest unemployment rates in the U.S., and a continuing shrinking population of residents and businesses."
It’s time to use kitchen-table common sense, the former business owner said.
“These issues cannot be addressed with continued stopgap measures,” Amrozowicz said. “We need to roll up our sleeves, get to work, and start working on tax reform, sensible spending and workers’ comp reform. I am committed to this end so our great state can get out of this death spiral.”
Many have attributed reckless overspending as the cause of the death spiral Illinois is experiencing. Some said the state has plenty of revenue streams and blame the alleged financial mismanagement for the state’s current situation.
“The Madigan/Cullerton team are always trumpeting the need for increased revenues,” Amrozowicz said. “The reality is we have plenty of revenue here in Illinois. We have a spending problem here in Illinois that has resulted in an excessive tax burden on our residents.”
Amrozowicz said it's unfair to place such a burden on the state's taxpayers.
“The growth in per capita tax in Illinois has far outpaced the rate of inflation,” Amrozowicz said. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the math. Furthermore, and more importantly, these tax revenues are also growing faster than taxpayer salaries. I find it immoral to suggest we need to continually milk our taxpayers to cover for the fiscal mismanagement of our state legislators.”
Taxpayers continually have expressed their frustration to Amrozowicz. They are unhappy with their elected leaders, he said.
“Our campaign has been reaching out to voters since September of last year, and we are consistently hearing the same thing: People are unhappy with the current Illinois legislative leadership under Michael Madigan and John Cullerton, and are incensed at elected officials that kowtow to their policies.” Amrozowicz said.
Many are concerned with their neighborhoods thinning out due to a mass out-migration of residents. The state is facing an exodus of prime working-age adults, many of whom are leaving the state for better employment opportunities and lower taxes.
“There is a lot of anxiety in our communities because people see their neighbors leaving every day due to the fiscal mess and continued corruption,” Amrozowicz said. “Their observations are verified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the out-migration is not only continuing, it is accelerating as well. In 2011, it was estimated that one person left Illinois every seven-and-a-half minutes. In the past year, that has changed to one person leaving every five minutes.”
This flight affects more than just the state’s census: It decreases the ever-dwindling tax base.
"Take these stats in context of what is happening here in Illinois,” Amrozowicz said. “The Democrats are calling for higher tax revenues in a state with a shrinking population. What does that mean to the taxpayers of Illinois? It means that every time someone leaves, the individual tax burden of the people that stay goes up as well.”
The state Senate hopeful concludes by calling for a shift in the way the state thinks, behaves and handles its affairs. Amrozowicz said this requires new leadership.
“It is time for a paradigm shift in Springfield, and it’s not going to happen with people that are supported by Michael Madigan and John Cullerton,” Amrozowicz said.
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