Governor. J.B. Pritzker signed a nearly $40 billion state budget Wednesday afternoon after it passed the House and Senate over the weekend before the spring session came to a close.
State Senator Chuck Weaver of Peoria did not vote in favor of the budget, citing, quote, “really creative taxation going on.”
Weaver says that one of the biggest issues with the budget is that new money from the legalization of marijuana and sports betting, and the increases in taxing of video gambling and cigarettes aren’t directly going to pay down the pension debt.
“We had all these taxes that were waiting out there for folks in the General Assembly to go grab. Well, when they grabbed them they started using them to give stuff away instead of making sure we’re taking care of our long-term pension obligations.”
Weaver tells WGIL that he does not support tax increases until the state’s pension problem is resolved.
He that even though he did not approve of several parts of the bill, there were things he did like.
“So education funding was up. That’s a good thing. How those dollars get spent troubles me a little bit because a lot of that [is going to Chicago] but it’s also important that a lot of that is going to our rural districts that need it as well. So, that’s a good thing.”
Weaver also says that the spending on transportation is good, saying that the people of Illinois wouldn’t argue that the state needs to fix their roads.
The Senator was also happy with legislation that he passed getting money to the Kewanee Life Skills Center to help inmates get to search for work while still incarcerated, to help them secure jobs when they’re released.
WGIL will continue our legislative wrap up with Quincy Senator Jil Tracy on Galesburg’s Evening News Thursday and Representative Norine Hammond of Macomb Friday.