Following the passage of the fiscal year 2024 budget in the Illinois House of Representatives, State Representative Jeff Keicher (R-Sycamore) issued the following response:
“I was worried after the Governor’s budget address in February that the final product for FY24 would not include anything to improve accountability or address longstanding structural problems like procurement and personnel shortages. I was also worried about rolling out new programs with long-term costs when we still have areas we need to shore up. Well, that’s exactly what we have in this state budget.
“Equally concerning is the myriad of gimmicks, like hiding exploding Medicaid costs by kicking half the payments into next year. Likewise, shortchanging local governments by shifting hundreds of millions from the Personal Property Replacement Tax into the General Revenue Fund, or failing to extend the Invest in Kids Tax Credit Scholarship program so Democrats can fund pet projects and a pay raise for themselves. The worst gimmick though, is appropriating $550 million for a healthcare program for undocumented immigrants that costs recipients nothing out of pocket, even though projections estimate the actual cost to exceed $1 billion. My heart breaks for the constituent I spoke to who is forgoing surgery because of a high deductible, but Illinois is spending their tax dollars on this program.
“In the five years that I’ve been in the General Assembly, the budget has increased a staggering 25% from $40 billion to more than $50 billion now. I constantly have constituents contact my office who are concerned about funding for longstanding programs, like those for seniors, those in long-term care, the PUNS backlog and adults with disabilities. Yet, the Governor and Democrats continue to create new costly programs with these increases and continue to underfund our most vulnerable people. Instead of continuing to expand new and cost consequential programs, the state needs to take care of the commitments we have already put in place.”
Rep. Keicher serves the 70th District, which includes portions of DeKalb, Kane, and McHenry Counties.