SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today called House Speaker Mike Madigan to hold a hearing on the Balanced Budget Act, in addition to already planned hearings on state borrowing. The Balanced Budget Act, proposed by Governor Blagojevich in February, takes aim at past budget and spending practices that caused the budget deficit.
“I applaud Speaker Madigan for scheduling hearings on borrowing. Today, I am calling on the Speaker to also hold hearings on the Balanced Budget Act. The hearings would offer a chance to have a full discussion on what our spending priorities are and how to pay for them,” said Governor Blagojevich. “The concept behind the Balanced Budget Act is simple – pass legislation that can help put an end to the days where there’s a disconnect between spending and revenue.”
The Balanced Budget Act is the cornerstone of the Governor’s effort to bring accountability and restraint to the state budget process. It would require that every bill that increases spending to also include a corresponding revenue or spending cut to pay for it.
“This is not unlike what a family does with their money. If a family wants to take a vacation, they don’t just buy plane tickets and make hotel reservations and worry about how to pay for the vacation sometime in the future,” said the Governor. “They make adjustments, they make decisions. Maybe they go out for dinner less or keep that old car running for another year. Maybe they don’t buy new clothes. Whatever they do, they figure out what cuts they need to make in order to pay for that vacation. And, if they can’t make a few cuts, then they don’t take a vacation. Why should state government be any different?”
The Governor’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2005 balances the $1.7 billion structural deficit without raising the sales or income tax and it still allocates more money for schools, health care and law enforcement. His budget detailed how the state will pay for those key commitments by closing corporate loopholes and reducing state spending.
“When we decide to increase spending, we should know how we are going to pay for it. That should apply to the General Assembly. It should apply to the Governor. And, it should have been the law years ago. We owe it to the taxpayers to explore ways to spend their money more responsibly,” said Governor Blagojevich. “The people of this state deserve a government that treats their money responsibly and spends it wisely. They deserve a government that respects their hard work and their hard-earned money. I think everyone down here wants to give them that. And seriously looking at our proposal, by holding a hearing, is the best way to begin.”