A slew of bills, including the new budget, were signed this week by Governor J.B. Pritzker.
Senator Jil Tracy of Quincy, a Republican, tells WGIL that while she was opposed to the majority party on many of their agenda items, the Senate worked together to get these bills done – working late into Friday night.
Tracy, whose district represents Warren, McDonough, and a portion of Knox County, points to the capital bill and the increase in public education as big wins for from the budgetary process.
“We also funded public education, K-12, at a better rate. They had gotten a really good school funding formula last year. We’ve heard how much it has helped schools in Galesburg and Monmouth and the like. And this year we’ve put more money into that.”
Additionally, increased spending in higher education was also passed with the package of bills the Governor signed on Wednesday.
Tracy tells WGIL that while there is a lot of pain in looking at the capital bill, including increases in the motor fuel tax, it’s a necessity.
“The way I see it is… our area is a regional commuter’s area. I have 11 counties in the 47th senate district and so people travel a lot. Public safety is a major factor. And, I also think that if you have good roads and infrastructure you invite better economic development, which our region needs.”
She commented that Indiana raised the motor fuel tax and that had an effect on the condition of the roads in that state.
She says that, despite her being a fiscal conservative, if the state had increased that tax in 1991 it would have led to better roads.
She adds that much of her session in the General Assembly was spent fighting to get much of Pritzker’s more “aggressive” agenda pulled off the table, including additional taxes.