Democrat Senators have again signaled that they are no longer interested in working with the other party to pass real solutions or a balanced budget, according to State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington). The super majority party closed out the week by passing a severely weakened and ineffective workers’ compensation bill that would do little to nothing to grow jobs.
“Illinois has lost 1600 manufacturing jobs since 2009, while our surrounding states added 350,000. That is unacceptable,” said Senator Barickman. “You would think at some point Democrats would recognize that there is a real problem here and decide to take serious action.”
On Friday, Senate Democrats pushed through a bill that supporters claimed was a “workers’ comp reform compromise,” but in reality was just a partisan bill designed to create the illusion of action while offering no real reform.
During the week Democrats also rammed through one of the largest tax hikes in state history, complete with new taxes, generating billions in new revenue despite not even addressing the $14 billion backlog of bills.
“This is right back to the same old bag of tricks, reckless, out-of-control spending and higher taxes for residents of this state, while refusing to do anything to stop the loss of jobs and people,” said Barickman. “This was more political theater from the supermajority party. We should be at the negotiating table working on real solutions instead of dealing with partisan games.”
As recently as last week, Senate Democrats had still shown signs of cooperating, working with Republicans to pass bipartisan pension reform legislation and procurement reform.
Negotiations continued into this week on workers comp reform, with both sides saying they were very close. Instead of continuing to work on a common-sense, bipartisan solution, Democrats shifted back to running partisan bills. Besides the workers comp bill itself, the supermajority party passed a poorly thought out bill to launch a state-run workers comp provider.
“The state of Illinois hasn’t been able to pass a balanced budget in 15 years, yet apparently they think we need to launch a state-run insurance company,” said Senator Barickman. “This in no way represents an attempt to accomplish anything, this is merely a shallow attempt to give the illusion of a solution.”
Barickman noted that the spring session is set to wrap up in just five days on May 31st, leaving little time for any real or substantive action.
“We’ve had far too few successes this spring, but we know what we can do when two sides are working together,” said Barickman. “There is time, but we need willing partners ready to negotiate in good faith. I again ask my Democrat colleagues to return to the table so we can finally put together a real plan for the people of this state.”