The $40 billion budget approved over the weekend adds nearly $1 billion to the bloated budget Governor JB Pritzker proposed earlier this year. The budget also includes a Capital plan, which is being paid for by numerous tax increases including doubling the state’s motor fuel tax from 19 cents per gallon to 38 cents per gallon and increasing license plate renewals $50.

We already have the highest combined state and local taxes in the nation and leaders in the House and Senate just raised taxes again. Families in our region are going to be hurt by these tax increases especially the gas tax increase. This is a regressive tax that is going to be painful rural residents.

Also included in the budget was a pay raise for legislators.

There was no action taken on the state’s pension crisis. There was nothing done to provide property tax relief and there was nothing done to stop the exodus of people from Illinois. But lawmakers get a raise. This is the wrong message to send to Illinois taxpayers. Illinois residents are being expected to bail out Springfield for the mismanagement of their money on the part of our state leaders and now they are being expected to foot the bill for pay increases for legislators. This is appalling and one of the many reasons I voted against the budget.

One point of light this spring is the FOID card legislation was stalled in the Illinois Senate. The legislation (SB 1966) would have increased the cost of obtaining or renewing a FOID card to $20 every five years (currently $10 every 10 years) and would have required fingerprinting in order to legally obtain a FOID card and $30 of the cost of fingerprinting falls on the person trying to own a gun.

During a legislative session in which abortion was greatly expanded to include even late term abortions and the minimum wage was raised to $15 per hour – it was nice to finally get a win on an issue important to many in the 107th District. The legislation is stalled for the moment and will likely be back, but for now this is a big win for 2nd Amendment supporters.

State Rep. Blaine Wilhour

R-Beecher City

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