SPRINGFIELD – Governor Quinn today proposed his Fiscal Year 2015 Budget, “Securing Illinois’ Financial Future.” The Governor’s address detailed an honest and responsible budget for the next fiscal year along with a five-year blueprint that will secure the state’s finances for the long-term, provide significant tax relief to homeowners and working families and invest like never before in education and early childhood.
Five years ago, when the Governor took the oath of office, Illinois was home to the worst pension crisis in America and the state’s backlog of bills was on its way to more than $9 billion. Because of hard steps taken with historic spending cuts, landmark pension reform and a historic labor contract that secured unprecedented savings for taxpayers, Illinois has cut spending by more than $5.7 billion. Today the state’s discretionary spending is below 2008 levels and the backlog of bills has been reduced by $5 billion.
“Illinois is in a stronger financial position now than we were five years ago and now is the time to end the era of fiscal cliffs and secure Illinois’ long-term financial future,” Governor Quinn said. “Because of the hard choices we’ve made, we’re in a position to balance the budget in a way that builds and protects the middle class by providing significant tax relief to homeowners and working families. We’re also in a position to properly invest in our schools, because the future of our economy depends on the quality of our education.”
The Governor’s budget proposal for comprehensive tax reform protects children, working families and seniors while preventing radical cuts to critical services. Highlights of the Governor’s comprehensive tax reform include:
- Providing every homeowner in Illinois with a guaranteed $500 property tax refund every year. Because of the progress the state has made with fiscal reforms over the past five years, families will benefit from the most significant property tax relief in Illinois history.
- Doubling the value of the anti-poverty, pro-family Earned Income Tax Credit over the next five years to provide tax relief for working families raising children and strengthen our economic recovery.
- New tax cuts to businesses that provide job training. By lowering the cost to train workers, this tax cut will make it easier for businesses to create new jobs and ensure workers have the skills to drive a 21st century economy.
- Maintaining the state’s current income tax rates, allowing the state to balance the budget, properly invest in education and provide every homeowner with a guaranteed $500 property tax refund every year.
- Instituting strong fiscal controls over state spending to make sure Illinois lives within its means for years to come. This includes establishing solid spending caps to ensure Illinois never again defers its obligations and building a rainy day fund in the event of future economic downturns or other emergencies down the road.
In addition, the Governor ruled out taxing retirement income, instituting a new tax on everyday services that working people rely on and slashing education which inevitably leads to property tax increases.
The Governor’s proposal calls for the biggest investment in education in state history, including:
- Investing $1.5 billion in the Birth to Five initiative, a game-changing investment in the state’s economic future. In his 2014 State of the State Address, Governor Quinn announced a bold Birth to Five initiative that focuses on prenatal care, access to early learning opportunities and parental support.
- Doubling the state’s investment in Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) scholarships expand opportunity for students in need to attend college.
- Modernizing classrooms across the state to ensure every student attends a first-rate school.
- A historic $6 billion increase in classroom spending over the next five years, doubling the investment in college scholarships for students in need and increasing access to higher education through dual enrollment and early college programs. Over the next five years, the Governor’s plan brings classroom funding to the highest levels in Illinois history.
To build on the success of the Illinois Jobs Now! program that has supported more than 400,000 jobs and built and repaired 7,731 miles of road, 1,330 bridges and 1,048 schools, Governor Quinn also proposed a bipartisan working group to develop a new capital plan for the next five years.
The Governor’s proposed fiscal year 2015 budget includes $16.8 billion in discretionary spending, which is below fiscal year 2008 levels. For more information, please visit Budget.Illinois.gov.
Speech Transcript (PDF)