McDermed pled for more reforms day before House overrode budget veto
A day before the House overrode Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the budget package now in effect, Rep. Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) railed against t, calling the plan shortsighted on WTTW’s "Chicago Tonight."
“I think we have to take a little bit longer view,” McDermed said. “Things are really bad right now, but nothing that we have done changes the long-term trajectory for our state. We have to change the underlying drivers of the cost imbalance between revenue and spending, and unless we do that we are going to be right back where we are now by 2020. That makes no sense to me.”
McDermed joined WTTW’s Carol Marin for a panel discussion on the budget and the General Assembly’s votes to pass it. McDermed and Rep. Steven Reick (R-Woodstock) spoke against the plan, while Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and Rep. David Harris (R-Mount Prospect) were in favor of it.
Harris was one of several Republican lawmakers to break ranks with Gov. Bruce Rauner and vote in favor of the budget package, which allowed it to pass. Rauner vetoed the package, and the Senate quickly voted to override his veto. The "Chicago Tonight" panel discussed the House's vote, which was to take place the next day.
Harris said he would vote to override the veto, citing the struggles of his constituents.
Marin pressed McDermed on the looming threat of a credit downgrade if the state entered its third straight fiscal year without a budget, making Illinois the first state in the country to earn a ‘junk’ credit rating.
“My first concern has to be the families in my district,” McDermed responded. “…It’s by no means clear that this action will stop them from putting us to junk, because they know, as well as I do, that none of the underlying cost drivers have changed at all.”
McDermed was adamant against overriding the veto, arguing that the package would only exacerbate the outmigration Illinois has been experiencing for years.
“What really concerns me is that people who live in my district that I talk to are going to continue to make the decisions that they have been making, even before Rauner was elected, to take their futures and their families’ futures somewhere else, because the don’t feel that the economic climate in Illinois is such that they can continue," she said.
The budget passed the House with the minimum number of votes required, according to the Chicago Tribune.
McDermed contended that the budget package does not address the root causes of the state’s financial problems. Steans, the lone Democrat on the panel, insisted that the General Assembly has met the Rauner’s demands, putting reform bills for government consolidation, procurement, pensions and workers’ compensation on his desk. McDermed shot back that the bills are reforms in name only and would not provide the changes that Illinois residents expect.
Throughout the discussion, McDermed argued that the budget would contribute to the state’s problems by offering more of the same and not putting desperately needed changes in place.
“…[Y]ou know we have fewer jobs now than we did in 2000," she said. "That’s real. Nothing that we did here with this budget changes the facts of life for job creators in this state. My fear is that job creators and the people in my district that depend on those jobs are worse off than they were in 2014. I see the continuation of the same thing; I see no change.”