Senate Republican Caucus members are calling for Gov. JB Pritzker to focus on managing his administration here in Illinois, instead of traveling the country trying to increase his national profile. Members joined a press conference on Nov. 1 to highlight the ongoing concerns regarding the Pritzker Administration’s continued mismanagement and failures within multiple state agencies. The call is in response to the national media tour Gov. Pritzker has been conducting to promote “Think Big America” a new national political organization he started to support policies in other states.
Republican Senators are calling on the Governor to refocus his attention on the job he was elected to do here in Illinois.
During his time in office, his administration has been embattled in a multitude of agency failures including:
- Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) – Recent investigative news reports highlighted several high-profile resignations/terminations at the agency, along with egregiously high taxpayer funded salaries including one assistant who was being paid up to $60,000 – PER MONTH.
- Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) – Long delays in license renewals are negatively impacting many skilled professionals throughout the state including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, social workers, other healthcare workers, and business owners.
- Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) – Continued long-running issues of mismanagement and neglect for Illinois’ most vulnerable children continue to plague the agency whose director recently announced his resignation following being found in contempt of court numerous times.
- Illinois Department of Human Services– Despite analyses showing that the agency’s Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults and Seniors program that provides free healthcare to undocumented adult immigrants would likely top $1 billion, Gov. Pritzker insisted he could keep the program within its $550 was budget. Despite being given the tools he said he needed to rein in spending, the agency is projecting the cost to exceed its budget by more than 50% to more than $800 million.
- Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) – A recent audit called for by Senate Republicans showed Pritzker’s IDES made more than $5 billion in improper payments during the pandemic while many Illinoisans were still struggling to the get the benefits they were rightfully owed. Even more concerning, evidence shows the Pritzker Administration intentionally instructed employees to ignore red flags of fraud and other guidelines suggested by the federal government.
These are just some of the major problems facing Illinois taxpayers that must be addressed. Senate Republicans will continue to call on Gov. Pritzker to take a break from chasing the national spotlight and take significant action to reform the Illinois agencies that have been flailing under his sole control.
On Nov. 7, the Legislative Audit Commission (LAC) will hold a hearing to review the most recent scathing audit covering IDES and the Administration’s handling of the state’s unemployment system during the pandemic. That audit was the result of a resolution filed by Senate Republicans.
At the LAC hearings, Republicans will be filing a resolution to perform a similar audit covering the staffing issues that have recently come to light at IEMA. They will also be filing legislation in the full Senate calling for a similar audit.
According to Senator Anderson, while state legislators were in session last week working on solutions for the people of Illinois, the Governor was out in Washington D.C. weighing in on foreign policy and national politics. Senator Anderson and his fellow state Republican legislators are encouraging Gov. Pritzker to alter his focus and to Think Illinois.