I called on Governor Pat Quinn this week to veto the budget plan provided by the General Assembly and bring the legislature back to Springfield immediately to fulfill our constitutional obligation to pass a responsible, balanced budget.
Just a few weeks ago, the General Assembly provided the Governor with a budget that is unbalanced and unconstitutional. I voted against the FY 2011 budget as well as the irresponsible borrowing plan to meet the state's pension obligations. Rather than shirk our constitutional obligations, we need to return to Springfield and finish the jobs we were elected to do. At the same time, we must change the mindset of how we do business in Springfield. Illinois' bond rating dropped again this week, yet we plan to borrow even more money to help make ends meet. By doing so, we are perpetuating a cycle of debt that will lead our state to insolvency. We must find other solutions.
I am frustrated with the state's failure to responsibly meet its obligations and make necessary budget cuts. I know many of my colleagues, other elected officials and many constituents share my frustration. In addition to discussing major reforms to our budget process, including changing to a zero-based system and making responsible spending cuts, we did not even consider making the payments to our pension system first. Instead, we debated borrowing $4 billion in order to make those payments. We could make those obligated payments first, without borrowed money, which would allow the General Assembly to better evaluate how to meet its remaining fiscal obligations, including payments to vendors, social service agencies and local governments.
On Monday, I appealed directly to Governor Quinn in a letter and requested that he veto the budget and call the members of the General Assembly back to Springfield. My request has received no response. While local governments and social service agencies consider a second round of layoffs and even further reductions in services because they have no information regarding their budgets for next year, the Governor is not taking steps to get them that information. The only way to really solve these problems is to get the General Assembly back to Springfield to work on them. The system is not working, and we must implement precedent-shattering changes to fix these problems before our state becomes insolvent.