Illinois' credit rating was recently reduced to BBB from BBB+ by S&P Global Ratings, increasing interest on its borrowing and lowering the value of its bonds.
Mike Amrozowicz, the Republican candidate for the District 31 state Senate seat, considers this to be a real black eye for the state.
Mike Amrozowicz has also garnered the endorsement of the business community. | Contributed photo
“This is another in a long line of embarrassments for the state of Illinois,” Amrozowicz told the Lake County Gazette. “We already have the worst credit rating in the nation, which means we pay more on our debt than we otherwise would. This compounds our already-serious budget problems.”
Amrozowicz said Illinois’ dependable revenue resource, the taxpayers, are already tapped out.
“However, we cannot ask taxpayers to pay more into a broken system,” Amrozowicz said. “Raising taxes will not solve our problems, and in many ways will make them worse. Illinois is already the worst-taxed state in the nation when you add up all state and local taxes.”
Amrozowicz, a Navy veteran and a former businessman, urged the state to enact reforms that would increase growth in jobs and businesses.
“What we need to do is pass meaningful economic reforms to bring jobs back to the state and make it easier for companies here to create jobs,” Amrozowicz said. “The tax revenue we bring in through economic growth can help us balance the budget without raising taxes.”
Amrozowicz said Illinois should also take a hard look into reforming its political system. The state needs people who can fix not only the broken economy, but also the vicious political climate.
“We also need political reform, like term limits and fair maps, to restore confidence in our state government and get us out of the cycle of lurching from budget crisis to budget crisis,” Amrozowicz said. “Only when Springfield's broken political climate is finally fixed will companies and investors feel secure in the future of Illinois.”
The future of Illinois may be a little bleaker than expected if a report regarding its deficit holds solid ground. According to the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, a supposed carry-forward deficit from last year may cause the deficit for fiscal year 2017 to rise to as high as $16 billion, double what was previously calculated.
Amrozowicz said a solution to this deficit is to cut spending and grow the economy.
“The Illinois Department of Revenue found that if Illinois had grown at just the national average for the last 15 years, we would have had $19 billion more in revenue and no budget deficit,” Amrozowicz said. "With the types of advantages and national resources we have in Illinois, we should be the top of the pack, not just average.”
Amrozowicz also called for smart spending with the available revenue.
“We also need to make our government spending more efficient and ensure we are providing value for taxpayers,” Amrozowicz said. “Pension reform, cutting administrative bloat and procurement reform can save the state billions of dollars immediately.”
To bring about change, the state needs to find the right people, Amrozowicz said.
“What we need are legislators in Springfield with the courage to stand up to the special interests and status quo politicians,” Amrozowicz said. “If the voters of the 31st District send me to Springfield, I will be a tireless voice for reform.”
Many supporters have voiced their support for the candidate. The Chicago Tribune has endorsed him, saying it believes he would bring more fiscal sanity to the state, Amrozowicz said.
Amrozowicz also garnered the endorsement of the business community, including the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Manufacturers Association, and the Associated Builders and Contractors, all of whom he deems vital voices for economic growth. Amrozowicz said he plans to grow businesses and foster a successful Illinois.
“The horrible business climate in Illinois is a root cause for many of our other problems, whether it's providing jobs, balancing the budget, or adequately funding our schools and social services,” Amrozowicz said. “I owned and operated a small business for 12 years. I understand the effects Springfield's policies have on our businesses and working families."