By Greg Bishop, INN-
Springfield.- From selecting a diverse cabinet, to passing a statewide minimum wage increase, signing laws regulating gun stores, and signing executive orders on equal pay and on immigration, and more, Gov. J.B. Pritzker is celebrating his first 100 days in office.
This week marks Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s first 100 days in office. Last week, marked the first 100 days for the new Democratic supermajorities in Illinois’ General Assembly.
Pritzker’s office released a list of accomplishments Tuesday.
“Pritzker promised to think big for Illinois, and he’s living up to that commitment,” the statement said.
Democrats have veto-proof supermajorities in both chambers, which helped Pritzker make good on several of his campaign promises, including the statewide minimum wage increase.
“Top accomplishments have to be the spirit of cooperation that now extends to all regions of the state and the effort to raise wages for Illinois families who has been overlooked or opposed by Republicans for nearly a decade,” said Steve Brown, spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan.
Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, cited the minimum wage increase and Pritzker’s signature on a law raising the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21 as key accomplishments that could influence the rest of the country.
“This week you saw Walgreens announce it would no longer sell tobacco products to anyone younger than 21,” Cullerton said. “Target and other major retailers are racing ahead and raising their starting wages to $15 an hour. It shows the influence Illinois can have when we think big and aren’t afraid to act. And that by far has been the most substantial accomplishment of Gov. Pritzker’s first 100 days.”
Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois President Carol Portman said it’s been busier than normal up to the spring break, which wraps up this week. She anticipates it will get busier when lawmakers come back to finish out Spring Session before the May 31 deadline to pass legislation with simple majorities.
“What revenue raisers are they going to stick into the budget process to be able to balance the budget” are not yet clear, Portman said. Lawmakers have proposed a bag tax, increased tobacco and vape taxes. And revenue from recreational cannabis and sports betting licenses and other revenue streams have yet to materialize. Pritzker’s budget proposal counts on that money to balance the state’s spending in the coming fiscal year.
Not everyone is pleased with the direction the state is headed.
Ken Cooley, who employs up to 20 people with his small business in Ogden, said the state’s supermajority is taking the state in the wrong direction. He said lawmakers need to find ways to reduce spending.
“It’s tax and spends,” Cooley said. “It’s tax and spends. All they want to do is raise taxes to try to fix the problems, to fix the holes, and we will be in the same position five and ten years from now.”
Pritzker joked while touring CSL Behring in Bradley on Tuesday that he’ll take credit for working on traffic congestion around CSL.
“I’ll take at least the credit for a 100 days in office for looking to make sure we’re delivering what CSL needs,” Pritzker said.
He also said he’s out to be the state’s best chief marketing officer.
“People want to move to Illinois, they’re growing their business here in Illinois and that we’re a partner, we’re a partner in that endeavor,” Pritzker said.