GOP Welcomes Pritzker's Ethics Reforms, Want More
Gov. JB Pritzker called for ethics reforms during his State of the State address in Springfield on Wednesday, but a Republican party leader said his plans lack a key component to rooting out corruption.
Pritzker called for closing the so-called revolving door that enables former legislators to immediately become lobbyists.
Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, and the party leadership insist the state must move to an independent body to redraw legislative maps following this year’s census.
“The maps that have been drawn by the Democrats have divided our state and have led to the power within the Democratic Party that has led us to the corruption within the Democratic Party,” Brady said.
Brady agreed with Pritzker’s call for more statement of economic interest disclosures among legislators.
GOP state Rep. Keith Sommer said he felt Pritzker's efforts to address corruption were strong, especially when he said he would not sign an energy bill written by the utility companies.
“(That) was really pretty direct, given the concerns of Com Ed and what’s happened in recent months with the disclosure about various legislators,” Sommer declared. “I think he’s sincere about it.”
State Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, said he was encouraged to hear the governor call for ethics reforms.
“Investigations, arrests, and indictments of public officials have hung over Illinois like a dark storm cloud for far too long,” Brady said in a news release. “Last fall, my Republican colleagues and I proposed a package of reforms to hold elected officials accountable, and today the governor signaled that he is ready to work with us on some of our proposals.”
Sen. Brady welcomed the governor’s call for property tax relief through consolidating the state’s 7,000 units of local government, but he said that alone won’t do it.
Brady said growing the state’s economy through more business-friendly policies would grow the tax base and better enable the state to fund education, thereby lowering the tax burden on local districts.
“That’s the biggest place where the opportunity lies,” Brady said.
Brady said that would include passing tort reform and reducing workers compensation costs.
“They won’t be easy for (Pritzker) because the ultra-left wing of the Democratic Party has fought us against those,” he said.
Rep. Brady added he was pleased to hear Pritzker’s willingness to seek property tax relief.
“We must deliver to stop the exodus of families and businesses from our state. It would appear that the only person now standing in our way of achieving these critical goals in the House is Speaker Madigan,” Brady said.
Sommer said Pritzker’s call for property tax relief lacked much detail. He’ll wait to see what the governor presents in his budget address in February.
Sommer added he supports much of the goals Pritzker outlined in the address, but the veteran legislator was disappointed the governor didn't address reforms at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
“Given the circumstances at DCFS in the past year, I thought he would at least talk about the additional monies given to the agency and some of the things they were doing,” Sommer explained. “I watched and there was not one word in there about that and that disappointed me personally.”
DCFS came under scrutiny last year following several high-profile deaths, including 8-year-old Rica Rountree of Normal.
Cynthia Baker was convicted of killing the girl in November, and Rica’s father faces charges in connection with her death.
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