Bloomington state Sen. Jason Barickman said he thinks this week's State of the State speech from Gov. JB Pritzker will not tackle the major issue facing the state.
The Republican predicted the Democratic governor will promote his progressive income tax proposal.
"Of course, I argue that by doing so, he's missing the point, which is we have an overspending problem that we should address today. We should not just continue to raise taxes with the hope that our spending will miraculously be balanced as a result," said Barickman. "I think the governor has placed all his eggs in one basket here. And he is entirely relying on the public to change the constitution."
Pritzker has said a progressive structure would keep taxes the same or lower for most Illinoisans other than the wealthy.
A number of economists and financial experts have said the state cannot balance its budget through cuts and still make good on pension promises made to state workers and underfunded for decades by various governors and general assemblies.
Barickman said this will be a tough budget year.
He said he thinks it's likely the General Assembly will not do anything major as it waits for the referendum on the income tax proposal in the fall.
"What that means this year is that he's (Pritzker) is going to try to duck and weave, I think a bit, use a little bit of chicanery in the budgeting process, to say we'll limp through the year," Barickman said.
Barickman said he would like to hear the governor promote a nonpartisan fair maps redistricting proposal.
"What we know is that the product that the legislature will produce is something that is political. It doesn't matter if the Democrats are in charge as they are today or the Republicans were tomorrow, the political parties will put forward maps designed to benefit the majority," said Barickman.
Over decades, political scientists have noted legislative districts across the country have increasingly favored one party or the other and become so called safe seats. Scholars say that increases polarization and lessens the incentive to compromise in government.
Pritzker, before he was governor, expressed some support for nonpartisan redistricting of legislative boundaries.
Democratic Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan does not support the Fair Maps proposal, Barickman said.
Barickman also said the ongoing federal corruption investigation of lobbyists, state lawmakers, and the utility Commonwealth Edison offers Pritzker the opportunity to go big on ethics reform in the speech, if he wants to.
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