Governor Pritzker Delivers State of the State Address
Governor JB Pritzker delivered his second State of the State address to the Illinois General Assembly on Wednesday, January 29, 2020. Please consider what follows as a general summary of what he discussed.
At the outset of his address, Governor Pritzker stated that Illinois’ problems have a bipartisan basis and that small problems, left unattended, can become big problems. He urged a focus on fixing problems instead of harping on past failures. He characterized his administration as “wresting” state government back from those proclaiming disaster.
The Governor expressed his view that Illinois is growing stronger each day. To buttress his case, he articulated the following:
- Balanced Budget
- Job Growth and Low Unemployment
- Economic Growth in Each Region of the State
- Reduced Borrowing Rate for the State
- Capital Infrastructure Law
- Cannabis Legalization (Tax Revenue and Expungement)
- Licensed to Work Act
- Municipal Public Safety Pension Fund Consolidation
- Minimum Wage Increase
- Equal Pay Law
- Health Care Expansion
- Minimum Salary Increase for Teachers
- Cap on Insulin Costs
Following this recitation of where he believes his administration had success, the Governor addressed the need to combat the “scourge” of the “purveyors of greed and corruption” in both parties. He announced that ethics reform will be a top priority for his administration in 2020 and that “protecting and tolerating” corruption is no longer possible. To thwart corruption and influence peddling, the Governor wants to ban elected officials from lobbying at every level of government and strengthen conflict-of-interest disclosure requirements. The Governor is also proposing to ban former state legislators from lobbying state government for an unspecified amount of time.
The Governor pivoted to state hiring. He announced his desire to end the state’s old patronage system while pushing for a more diverse state workforce.
He discussed his support for a progressive income tax, the expansion of high speed internet service, a fairer criminal justice system, clean energy legislation and steps toward the electrification of transportation. When discussing property tax reform, the Governor indicated his desire to address the “perverse incentives” for local governments to increase property taxes to the maximum allowable amount.
In closing, the Governor touted his belief that “pragmatic progressive leadership” will benefit the state.