McConchie sees hope in Brady, silver lining in budget
Sen. Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods) hopes colleague Bill Brady’s prudent and fiscally conservative nature will prove to be a godsend for the Illinois Senate during its time of transition.
Brady (R-Bloomington) was recently installed as the new minority leader in the Senate after Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) unexpectedly retired on the July 1 start of the new fiscal year.
His appointment came just days before lawmakers approved a $36.1 billion state spending budget, ending more than two years of gridlock that had left the state without a full budget and mired in approximately $15 billion in unpaid debt.
“Bill Brady is a fiscal conservative who understands the need to get our state back on track,” McConchie told the Lake County Gazette. “I think he is someone responsive to the thoughts and ideas of our caucus in best advocating for policies to move the state forward.”
McConchie said Brady’s skills as a facilitator will help Republicans cement their footing on policy issues.
“With the budget behind us, he will be able to concentrate on getting the kind of reforms that government, business leaders and average citizens trying to stay in the state are asking for.”
Meanwhile, Radogno, the first female caucus leader in Illinois General Assembly history, said she was leaving with no regrets.
“I have done everything I can do to resolve the state’s budget crisis," she said in a statement. "I will continue to do so for the coming days.”
Not long after that, both chambers voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s vetoes of the measures in the state budget, including a 32 percent tax hike on individuals and corporations.
“I think it’s a travesty,” McConchie said. “This massive income increase with no reforms will do nothing to get the state back on track.”
Still, McConchie sees one possible silver lining: the effect the increase will have on Illinois' political future.
“We’ve been told for two years that the governor was the one stopping the state from having a budget, but these legislators proved they could pass a budget without the governor’s involvement,” he said. “That means it’s been these legislators for the past two years that have primarily been responsible for refusing to deal.”
McConchie vowed to continue pressing for the kinds of structural reforms he argued are imperative to the state’s longtime survival.
“We have a responsibility to continue to pressure Democrats to do the things that will help businesses and people be able to stay in this state,” he said.