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April 3, 2020

1/31/2020 2:45:00 PM
Governor fails to impress Righter with address
Daily News

Gov. J.B. Pritzker's State of the State address Wednesday touted accomplishments including a balanced budget, a capital plan for infrastructure throughout the state and investments in education.

But Crawford County's representative in the state Senate saw the speech differently.

"You know the governor delivers a nice speech, but I think the governor would be the first one to say that substance should count more than style," Righter said. "This governor has repeatedly said that he was for changing the process by which we redraw legislative boundaries and the fair map process; today he said not one word about that."

Righter also would have liked to hear more about property-tax reform.

"The governor has repeatedly expressed his concern for property taxes and how they are crushing the middle class," Righter said. "The governor spent 30 seconds talking about property taxes."

And while the governor touched on ethics, Righter said Pritzker missed an opportunity to say where the problems originate.

"The governor, who is head of the party that is literally drowning in investigations, subpoenas and indictments, and guilty pleas and soon to be prison time, spent two and a half minutes talking about ethics and corruption, which is half as much time as he spent talking about the flags outside of the Thompson Center," Righter said. "The governor had a breathtaking opportunity to speak to the people in Illinois and say "My party is the problem and we are going to stop," and he missed that opportunity in dramatic fashion."

Pritzker did say "the state's historic progress must not be hampered by corruption and self-dealing" and urged the General Assembly to pass comprehensive ethics reform, including a ban on lawmakers lobbying any unit of government, more disclosure of conflicts of interest with stiff penalties for withholding information, and a revolving-door prohibition for lawmakers.

The governor said his future agenda prioritizes fiscal stability while rebuilding a "hollowed-out" state government to provide key services.

"Bit by bit, inch by inch, I am working hard to reverse the harm that has been done to people and communities that have been left behind over many generations by government policies and elected officials who were content to simply ignore them," he said.

Pritzker noted changes in many areas in the past year, including health care, education and infrastructure.

"We have a choice about how we tell our story, and I want our Illinois story to be one of hope, inclusion, opportunity and kindness," Pritzker. said "I want it to be inspired every day by the fundamental goodness of the people who live and work here and who struggle so hard for a fair shot."

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