GOP House candidate Caulkins says new budget a 'gimmick'
Republican state House candidate Dan Caulkins doesn't think that the numbers add up in the state’s first full budget ahead of a new fiscal year since 2015.
“I would not have voted for it,” Caulkins told the Chambana Times. “It’s the same deficit, same issues that we’ve long had. An example of that is how they point out [that] one of the ways they plan to balance things is by selling the Thompson Center. That sell was also part of last year’s budget plan, and we’re no closer to selling it now then we were then. It’s all just a gimmick.”
Overwhelmingly passed by both chambers of the General Assembly, the $38.5 billion spending plan was signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner June 4.
With November’s election season looming, some have reasoned that the thought of voters going to the polls in just five months was all the motivation that lawmakers needed to steer clear of another budget stalemate like the one that gripped the state for nearly two years until last July.
To Caulkins, the price of Rauner relinquishing his demands for a deal that included his legislative agenda of reduced taxes and regulations, freezing property taxes and reining in politicians’ power seems too much to pay for the breakthrough.
“I seriously doubt if any reforms are part of this,” said Caulkins, who is running against Democrat Jennifer McMillin for the seat being vacated by Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) in the 101st District. "I guarantee if you send me to Springfield and we get to budget talks, I will ask plenty of hard questions and hope there are enough people to join me to make a difference.”
Caulkins said the first step in correcting the situation is for everyone in Springfield to get on the same page.
“The first thing we need to agree on is how much money we really plan to spend,” he said. “We have to pay our debt, and then we need to decide what is really necessary. There will be people [who are] not happy, but we have to get control of this problem. Just raising taxes has never worked.”