By Jamey Dunn
Republicans have long been calling for cuts and reforms before they will consider a tax increase. House Republicans mapped out some of their ideas in a letter sent to Gov. Pat Quinn today. However, they are not going so far as committing support for a tax increase if these ideas are implemented.
Some of the suggestions to cut government operations include:
- HB 5488 and HB 4800 would eliminate the state aircraft fleet.
- HB 6625 would institute 12 furlough days for legislators.
- HJRCA 36 would eliminate the lieutenant governor’s office.
Republicans also suggest the state:
- Block legislative pay raises for fiscal year 2011.
- Sell half the state automobile fleet.
- Impose a hiring freeze and a freeze on state employees’ salaries.
- Push for consolidation of K-12 schools.
Republicans propose cutting two programs that have been recent points of controversy:
- HB 4633 would eliminate General Assembly scholarships.
- HB 2657 would end the free rides for seniors program.
A few other measures include:
- HB 5785 would cap “All Kids” coverage.
- HB 4810 would create a pilot program to drug test welfare recipients.
- HB 4662 would establish a “tax amnesty” period that would allow delinquent taxpayers to pay the state without penalty.
Republicans also propose that Illinois create various grants and tax credits intended to encourage vocational training and hiring
What will probably be the most controversial suggestion from Republicans is the proposal to funnel $5 billion in funding for the capital construction plan into the operating budget.
Many of the ideas have been perennial suggestions to cut the budget and reform state government and have good deal of populist support. Many would also require changing laws, bargaining with unions and, in some cases, changing the state Constitution.
It is arguable how much they would do to solve a $13 billion dollar deficit. However, House Republicans do make the point that some of these proposals might improve public perception of state government. From the letter: “These measures would add up to hundreds of millions in savings and would demonstrate to the public that we are being responsible with their money.”