With the Illinois General Assembly set to begin its 5-day lame duck session tomorrow, State Representative Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) outlined what he hopes to see on the agenda for the upcoming session.
“Since the legislature has not convened in over six months, there are numerous important issues facing our state which must be addressed,” said Rep. Caulkins. “Our priorities should be the state budget deficit, ethics reform, processing unemployment claims, Governor Pritzker’s COVID restrictions, and improving the state business climate. These are not partisan issues. All Illinois citizens have been impacted by the General Assembly’s inability to meet since last spring.”
In May of 2020, Democrat lawmakers approved a $42.8 billion budget, resulting in a deficit of $4 billion this year. Rep. Caulkins voted against the unbalanced budget and said “appropriation committees need to meet and bring in agency directors to talk about what they can cut and how lawmakers can help.“ Caulkins was firm in stating that increasing the income tax should not be a part of the discussion.
Since Governor Pritzker’s COVID-19 restrictions were announced in March, thousands of individuals were forced onto unemployment, of which many still have not received the benefits they are owed. To make matters worse, more than 212,000 fraudulent claims have been filed with the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), with zero remedies offered by the Administration.
“Illinois’ unemployment system failures must be corrected this session,” Caulkins said. “It’s absurd that nothing has been done to remedy the disaster. My office has received hundreds of calls from people who can’t get an answer or even a return phone call from the state. The Governor needs to make this right and process the unemployment claims promptly, no excuses.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Illinois has lost 253,000 residents since 2010. Last year alone, our population declined by nearly 80,000 people.
Rep. Caulkins added, “Illinois has not witnessed this kind of population loss since WWII. Population loss is a direct result of the job-killing agenda coming out of the State House. Lawmakers need to get to work by enacting a pro-jobs package to help grow Illinois’ population and bring back the jobs lost. It is common sense – fewer restrictions equals more jobs which will bring people back to Illinois.”