Our View: Quinn snubs elephant in Springfield

Published: Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012 5:30 a.m.CDT • Updated: Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012 10:46 a.m.CDT

Gov. Pat Quinn apparently has big plans for Illinois this year.

During Wednesday’s State of the State address, he outlined a series of initiatives he said Illinois should embrace to keep the state “moving forward.”

What Quinn didn’t outline was how the state, with an $8 billion budget deficit and an additional $9 billion in unpaid bills, would pay for these initiatives.

In fact, Quinn didn’t mention the state’s budget deficit or backlog of bills at all. He also didn’t
mention the massive income and corporate tax increases he and the lame-duck General Assembly dumped on taxpayers and businesses a year ago in January.

Instead, he used his speech to tout how “Illinois is back on course” and a better place to do business now than before he took office.

His words ring hollow when the state’s unemployment rate remains near 10 percent – it was 9.8 percent in December, the last month for which statistics are available – and those with jobs are overburdened by massive income and property taxes.

Among Quinn’s proposals:

• Invest in higher education so 60 percent of Illinois adults have a post-high school degree by 2025.

• Invest in classrooms, equipping them with 21st century technology.

• Eliminate the natural gas tax, add a child tax credit that would give families of four a $100-a-year break and offer employers who hire veterans tax incentives.

• Reform Medicaid and public pension systems.

Quinn offered few specifics on his initiatives, particularly how they would affect the state’s budget.

The governor is scheduled to give a budget address Feb. 22. We hope he provides taxpayers with a more honest assessment of the state’s’ massive fiscal problems during that speech. By glossing over those many problems Wednesday, he sounded out of touch with Illinois’ true condition.

Talking about big plans and executing them are different things.

Deeds, governor, not empty words.

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