SPRINGFIELD, IL — Republicans are pleased with the way the 2020 election played out in Illinois.
With a cloud hanging over House Speaker Michael Madigan and COVID-19 restrictions imposed by Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, House Minority leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said Thursday during a news conference the voters of Illinois sent a clear message.
“The House Republicans were expected to lose up to 11 seats, and right now we are at a net gain of two,” Durkin said. “We were outspent five-to-one by speaker Madigan, and we still prevailed.”
The progressive tax amendment was voted down by a 55% to 45% margin. Pritzker blamed the defeat of the amendment on lies from the opponents of the measure. Durkin disagreed and said the amendment was shot down because the residents of Illinois are tired of the corruption in Springfield.
“You can’t go back and ask Illinoisans for a tax increase when there is zero trust in the leadership n Springfield, in the chambers and also under the roof,” he said.
Durkin said the Pritzker administration should start with 4% across the board cuts to the state budget. After that, Durkin said Republicans are willing to negotiate with the administration to make additional cuts that could be made.
The governor said Wednesday that he plans to meet with legislative leaders to make plans to move forward with a budget following the defeat of his tax amendment. He warned of “deep and painful” cuts because Illinois voters defeated the measure.
Pritzker has not ruled out asking for a tax increase to help cover the budget deficit. However, Durkin said the governor shouldn’t count on getting any votes from House Republicans.
“I am not going to talk about revenue at all,” Durkin said. “Why don’t we talk about reforms first.”