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Illinois GOP lawmakers lay out spring session priorities

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(The Center Square) – Illinois Republican lawmakers are laying out their agenda for the spring session, including addressing pension debts and ethics reform.

House Minority Leader Tony McCombie, R-Savannah, held a news conference Thursday in Springfield before legislators adjourned for the week. Alongside other leading House Republicans, the group reviewed its plan for the upcoming session.

“First and foremost, we need to hold the majority party accountable to spending,” McCombie said of Democrats who hold the supermajority in the House and Senate. “No new taxes, we certainly do not, and the voters have spoken that they do not want a graduated income tax, so that will be a number one priority.”

McCombie said addressing state agency mismanagement and dysfunction will be high on their session list. McCombie is also looking at meeting the party’s obligations from the 2019 capitol bill, which includes $41.8 million in projects that haven’t been released.

“Some of those projects are now in Democrat districts,” McCombie said. “It is for the betterment of the citizens around the state that we meet that obligation.”

Illinois currently spends about $10 billion a year on public pensions, and the state’s five systems have an unfunded liability of at least $140 billion. Addressing those debts will also be a priority for Republicans.

State Rep. Norine Hammond, R-Macomb, said they hope to work with Gov. J.B. Pritzker on the budget.

“What are the revenues? What are the spending demands,” Hammond asked about Pritzker’s potential budget. “We often talk about above the line and below the line, which is very important to do. We have priorities that we absolutely need to maintain.”

The governor’s budget address is set Feb. 21. Legislators return the day before.

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