“I agree: Real change is tough but this current level of spending is unsustainable. We spend more than we make, which is why taxes and fees in the last two years increased by $10 billion. If we continue with our current budget policies and law, the Governor says we would automatically increase our budget by 12% next year. This is truly unsustainable.
“It is time to make some tough choices; but in the past, the rank-and-file members have been shut out of budget negotiations and ‘three men in a room’ have determined the fate for millions. I am hopeful the budget process this year will enable all lawmakers to be involved in these important negotiations.
“Many of the initiatives the Governor outlined—such as agency consolidation and better management of state operations and state-run programs such as Medicaid—are long overdue. The tone today’s speech imparts is one all of us need to take to heart: Save Our State. Without true budget reform, we will be hard pressed to do so. I am pleased to know we have a good starting point moving forward in the weeks ahead with budget negotiations.”