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Republicans urge no new projects, tax hikes ahead of Pritzker’s budget address

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(The Center Square) – Illinois taxpayers will learn next week how Gov. J.B. Pritzker hopes to spend their tax dollars for the coming fiscal year. Republicans are urging him to not include new programs, new taxes or tax hikes.

Pritzker said he wants next week’s speech to be a big reveal. He said the bottom line is “more of what we care about.”

“Investing in education, investing in early childhood education and child care and early intervention and making sure, by the way, at that on the other end of the K-12 pipeline that they are also getting a great higher education,” he said.

The governor also said he’s focused on helping working class families.

“Lifting up the people who have been left out and left behind, I think those are all the obligations, the basic obligations of this state,” Pritzker said Friday.

Republicans warn of possible deficits up to $890 million. State Rep. Norine Hammond, R-Macomb, said that in recent years, human services spending increased by $3.6 billion and health care and Medicaid spending increased by $1.5 billion.

House Minority Leader Tony McCombie, R-Savanna, said first and foremost there should be no new taxes and no new spending programs. She also said if the budget is the “moral document” that legislators say it is, the priority needs to be on citizens, not non-citizen migrants.

“Cadillac health care costs for non-citizens? And that certainly is not a priority of the taxpayers that I’m hearing from not only within my district but across the state as the leader,” McCombie said.

With possible deficits, McCombie said the budget should spend within its means. She also warned against any attempt to revive attempts at a progressive income tax like what failed to pass in 2020.

“We would rather have true structural and political reform that we can actually grow our population compared to growing our tax rates,” she said.

Pritzker delivers his budget address Wednesday, Feb. 21.

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