OP-ED: Rep. Batinick on Re-Regulation to Help Fix Illinois Budget: One for All and Two for One!

Governor Pritzker reiterated the same old Illinois strategy during his State of the State budget address:  Raise taxes, rinse, repeat.

This type of budgeting is frustrating mostly because it focuses on how much we spend on something rather than the outcome of that spending. Taxpayers care about outcomes.

For example, higher education advocates raised the alarm on “devastating cuts” for years. Yet according to the State Higher Education Executive Officers report, Illinois ranks third in the nation in spending per student. Compared to other states, tuition at our public universities is still higher for in-state students. Essentially, while we spend more, our outcome is actually worse.

Our government is extremely inefficient and often designed to benefit special interests. Our regulatory climate also strangles agencies’ abilities to perform their core functions. Yet while Governor Pritzker spoke about raising taxes, he didn’t even hint at the other half of the solution: Growth.

The growth solution is Two-for-One budgeting. This means for every $2 in state savings that are given to an agency, department, et cetera as a result of re-regulation, the State will take $1 and the entity will keep $1. This will actually increase funding to the core service while decreasing state spend. It’s a win-win.

One way we can do this is by simplifying our extremely difficult procurement rules. Business owners describe these rules and long payment cycles as the biggest impediments to doing business with the state. By using strategies like online reverse auctions, we can increase transparency and reform a bureaucracy few understand, benefiting insiders. We can carve out a faster payment schedule for small and minority-owned businesses to incentivize their participation.

Conversely, legislation the House passes like the 9% pre-trial interest bill will be devastating. Instead of implementing beneficial reforms, this legislation will hurt our business climate and put pressure on budgets that will increase the cost on running government. These are not the outcomes our taxpayers need.

People are leaving Illinois. Raising taxes again will not help in the long term. While I have more ideas, I know I don’t have them all. What’s left in the toolbox is re-regulation. It will take all of us working together in the General Assembly to make it happen. Let’s use it.

One for All and Two-for-One!