On February 15, Governor JB Pritzker presented his combined State of the State and Budget Address before a joint session of the Illinois Senate and House. During the 55-minute speech, Governor Pritzker outlined a $49.6 billion General Fund spending plan for Fiscal Year 2024, which includes a new, permanent spending increase of nearly $3 billion, setting Illinois up for a major tax increase in the near future.
“The people I represent in Northwest Illinois are looking for substantive, permanent tax relief,” said Chesney. “But rather than hearing a proposal that would put more money back in Illinois citizens’ pockets, our Governor is channeling taxpayer dollars toward illegal aliens who visit welcome centers across our state. I will oppose any effort to channel taxpayer funds to illegal immigrants.”
The Governor also spent several minutes listing several items he viewed as legislative achievements during his tenure, most of which were only possible due to a massive influx of federal cash into Illinois, and ongoing executive orders that provided Pritzker with nearly unlimited spending power.
“We clearly saw a Governor that was speaking like he was on a national stage,” Chesney said. “These next few years will be about positioning himself as one of the most liberal-minded Democrats this nation has ever seen so he can run for President. He’s not looking toward the future of Illinois as much as he’s looking toward the 2024 South Carolina primary. What he failed to mention is that his greatest achievement so far is the investment his policy decisions have had on U Haul, as Illinoisans continue to move out of Illinois in alarming numbers.”
According to Chesney, Governor Pritzker’s FY2024 budget also includes funding for free childcare, including for the unemployed, a $3 million appropriation for a Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming and Intersex Wellness Grant program through the Department of Human Services, and funding for an abortion services hotline. “These are radical ideals that appeal to the extremes of the Democrat base,” said Chesney. “These are not the kinds of issues people are calling my office about when they suggest areas for state spending. The people who call my office are just wanting an honest state government that provides adequate funding for critical areas like education, economic development, and assistance for the disabled.”
Chesney has filed an aggressive legislative agenda for 2023 that attempts to reverse and scale back policies he claims have put Illinois on the wrong path. His bills include measures that protect Second Amendment rights, increase support of law enforcement officers, strengthen penalties for those convicted of heinous and violent crimes, and strengthen ethics laws. All would be accomplished without new taxes.
“Illinois is a state with so much untapped potential, and we have the ability to put our state back onto a path where the benefits of living here are limitless,” said Chesney. “That path begins with policies that encourage job growth and unleash the entrepreneurial spirit.”