Benford says new budget ‘fails to advance’ reforms people ‘desperately need’

by Glenn Minnis, Will County Gazette

GOP state House hopeful Alyssia Benford holds the recently enacted state budget up as another example of how lawmakers have failed their constituents and why she thinks taxpayers need her in Springfield.

“This year’s budget is just another example of that failure,” she said in a press release. “We should not celebrate the passage of another unbalanced budget that fails to advance any of the reforms our families desperately need.”

Benford, who is running against Rep. Natalie Manley (D-Joliet) in the 98th District, said the $38.5 billion spending plan that was overwhelmingly passed by both chambers of the General Assembly and quickly signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner does nothing to change the course of the state’s rocky trajectory.

“It is a budget that delivers for the politicians, the special interests and the trial lawyers, not the people,” she added. “The budget is unbalanced and fails to reform the major systems in government. It sets the stage for higher taxes. A progressive tax and a 1 percent statewide property tax are all on the table because of the passage of this budget.”

Finally, Benford argues that her opponent has had no problem with spending “every dollar” from last year’s record-setting 32 percent tax hike.

“It’s the status quo as usual: They [state legislators] force you to pay more [and] congratulate themselves on passing a budget funded by you,” the release said.

Once in Springfield, Benford said her primary goal will be to legislate and advocate on behalf of her constituents in hopes that a repeat of all the flaws she sees in the new budget don’t have a chance to happen again.

“As a CPA, Benford said spotting all the inconsistencies in the new budget came easy for her.

“The budget relies on an estimated revenue process that has not been perfected or it has the potential to be politically motivated,” she said. “For example, the budget contains $300 million in estimated revenues for the sale of the Thompson Center.  This is the third year of an expected sale of the Thompson Center, so what happens to $300 million in expenses if the Thompson Center is not sold?”

Benford also pointed to what she said is a practice of skipping payments to try to manipulate the budget into being “balanced.”

She compared the process to balancing a household budget for the month by deciding not to pay the mortgage.

“Moving millions of dollars in bills to the next fiscal year does not balance the current year budget or the next year’s budget,” she said, adding that she stands in support of a pension buyback plan proposed by Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) that could save the state as much as $400 million.

“Saving money and meeting pension obligations at the same time is a win-win,” she added. “My fiscally responsible recommendation would be to utilize the savings from the buyback program to fund the $130 billion pension debt.”

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