Call to Action: Wheeler Praises Comptroller’s Speech; It’s time to End the Budget Crisis

Following a news conference by Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger, State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) praised the Comptroller’s speech regarding the budget crisis and again called for the General Assembly to step-up.

“Comptroller Munger couldn’t have made it more clear in her press conference today; we must have a balanced budget now or we could end up with more than $10 billion in debt,” said Wheeler. “As she said, the court orders have turned our state’s finances into a no-limit credit card for some spending, but have left many of the most vulnerable at risk without a budget. Every day that passes exacerbates the problem.”

Wheeler continued, “I will say it again, it’s time for the General Assembly to step-up. Like both the Comptroller and Governor have said, we have areas of common ground, it’s time to get in a room together and get this done. I know many of my colleagues agree, but we must put this call to action to all members of the General Assembly.”

In her speech, Munger highlighted that many non-profit and social service providers have already exhausted their funds and vulnerable Illinoisans in need of autism treatment, mental health care and victims of sexual assault are not receiving critical care, among others. Munger highlighted that while her office is doing everything they can to prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable, statutory requirements don’t allow certain checks to be written without a funding mechanism, making the problem worse.

Munger also noted how the requirements of the various court orders, consent decrees and statutory appropriations requirements are causing spending to continue at levels that can’t be met because of the roll back of the temporary income tax. Her office estimates that if the budget impasse continues for another year, the backlog of unpaid bills could reach $10 to $12 billion, which would require a tax increase to 7 or 8 percent without budget cuts and reform. She noted how just the backlog of bills estimated at $6.2 billion for 2016 could allow someone to buy both teams in the Super Bowl, the Willis Tower and trip to the moon, and you would still have money left over.

To watch the Comptroller’s speech, visit: http://livestream.com/blueroomstream/events/4769765.