Caulkins likes what he's hearing about Rauner budget plan
Dan Caulkins is as optimistic as he’s been in a while about the direction of Illinois after hearing Gov. Bruce Rauner speak out in favor of the implementation of a full and balanced budget.
“I think the governor is on the right track here in talking about sitting down with the other four leaders in Springfield and coming up with something for a budget,” Caulkins told the Chambana Sun. “It would be honest and it would give us a kind of real estimate that we haven’t seen in years. That’s how everyone who’s serious about doing a budget, from a family to a business, gets it done.”
Rauner’s plan further calls for lawmakers to enact a full-year fiscal 2019 budget before July 1 that adheres to a revenue estimate instead of a partial spending plan that will only carry the state through November’s general election.
Rauner, who is running for a second term against Democrat J.B. Pritzker in November, has also pressed lawmakers to present him with a bill that seeks to save taxpayers as much as $1 billion in annual pension costs prior to the end of the spring legislative session on May 31.
Caulkins, a Decatur Republican who is running against Democrat Jennifer McMillin for the seat being vacated by Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) in the 101st District, joins the likes of Republican House Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) in throwing his support behind Rauner's plan.
“One thing I would suggest is that we look at what last year’s income was for the state, that would be a good place to start with new budget figures,” Caulkins added. “If things happen to turn out to be better than that, the good thing is that we still wouldn’t have over-committed ourselves.”
As it is, Illinois’ $130 billion in unfunded pension liability and a two-year stretch where the state was forced to operate without a balanced budget in place has pushed the state’s credit ratings to just a shade above junk status.
“Democrats have not shown any willingness to cut spending,” Caulkins added. “Going this more responsible route, shouldn’t seem that hard to an ordinary person.This would be really good for taxpayers and its past time something positive happens in Springfield with our budget.”