State Representative Andrew Chesney voted NO on a package of bills which enacted a State Budget for Fiscal Year 2020 while doubling the state’s motor fuel tax as well as other taxes and fees to pay for a massive Capital Spending plan ($45 billion) with little to no spending cuts.
“Not only was this budget dropped on minority legislators in a very disrespectful and non-transparent way by the Democrat Supermajority, but it identified no spending cuts, no structural reforms to state government operations and insufficient reforms to help local governments provide much-needed property tax relief,” said Rep. Chesney of the thousands of pages of budget amendments handed to legislators to review in only hours before being asked to vote.
“We all agree that roads and bridges need to be fixed in Illinois,” Chesney went on to say. “But increasing the motor fuel tax to this level while also passing a massive increase in vehicle registration fees disproportionately effects rural residents and those on a fixed income like our seniors, many veterans and low to middle-income families.”
The Fiscal Year 2020 Operating Budget spends $40.268 billion and raises over $3 billion in new taxes and fees to pay for the increased spending. Chesney says while there are laudable elements to the budget, like, “two complete cadet classes through the Illinois State Police and more funding to local schools through the evidence-based funding formula, this budget is still short on reforms and fat on wasteful spending.”
Especially criticized by Chesney and other colleagues in the minority party was a last-minute effort by House Speaker Mike Madigan to block efforts at removing a $1,600/year pay raise for legislators. Rep. Andrew Chesney plans to donate his pay raise to local charities absent further legislative action to stop the raise. “I’d offer to send it back to the State, but it’s clear it would only be misspent,” Chesney concluded.