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Chicago – Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner delivered his first State of the State address to the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday, beginning his inaugural term as governor by outlining his own approach to a number of critical issues plaguing taxpayers.
Taxpayers United of America’s (TUA) director of operations, Jared Labell, said that today’s speech was a mixed bag of positive steps and setbacks for taxpayers. “We’re glad to hear Gov. Rauner supports government reforms that will reduce the size and cost of government by consolidating offices, leveraging purchasing power and returning some control to local government while reducing the more than 7,000 government taxing authorities.”
Labell was also optimistic about Gov. Rauner’s forthright discussion of the government unions’ power and conflict of interest with the taxpayers. “It’s about time a state’s chief executive connected the dots between the union thugs, campaign contributions, and the ever expanding government employee pensions, an issue on which TUA has been at the forefront for nearly a decade.”
“These lavish, gold-plated government pensions are the most critical financial challenge for Illinois. The taxpayers who have their hard-earned paychecks looted to pay for billions in government largesse are really hurting, being forced to work longer and harder, sacrificing their own retirement savings to fund the government retiree lifestyle.”
“My optimism over the implications of Gov. Rauner’s fiscal policy on taxpayers vanished with his glaring omission of how he would pay for the big spending increases in the education and prison systems. Gov. Rauner has made it known throughout his campaign that he supports broadening the Illinois state sales tax to include numerous services, including advertising, storage, and printing. He wants to, and barely mentioned, ‘broadening the tax base’, but has not mentioned lowering the sales tax rate itself,” said Labell. “I guess we will have to wait for his budget speech to see if the governor’s proposal is really just a massive tax increase for average taxpayers, who would be hardest hit by such an indiscriminate tax hike.”
“Raising taxes in any way before addressing the real budget problem, the unsustainable government pension system, is counterproductive and irresponsible. There are steps that can be taken immediately, such as placing all new government hires in retirement savings accounts and increasing employee and retiree contributions to healthcare premiums,” concluded Labell.