Our Views

Gov. J.B. Pritzker appears to be making an effort to singlehandedly unlock the Springfield grid.

Elected alongside majorities in the House and Senate, Pritzker's bill signings have now numbered into triple figures. Things are getting accomplished.

That's not to say every bill passed and signed is a blessing. Not even Pritzker backers would attempt to insist on that. Having another year with an actual budget is a low bar to scale, but at least the inactivity of the Rauner years has been abated.

Now, some of those bills are undoubtedly incomplete or too ambitious or too restrictive or too liberal. We'll have to see the fallout from such controversial decisions as OK'ing sports gambling, increasing the minimum wage and legalizing recreational marijuana.

We'll still be waiting for a conclusion in the debate of Pritzker's graduated income tax, which will be on the ballot next year. We can anticipate extensive advertising and spirited debates on both sides of the issue.

It's difficult to see a downside in the passing of Scott's Law, which increases punishment for endangering first responders at accident scenes. But for every decision like that, Pritzker also signed off on controversial taxes, like an addition $1 per pack of cigarettes, 19 cents more in gas taxes, and a spike in license fees.

Skeptics are wholly justified in being apprehensive toward the method for funding the $44 billion capital plan. The state has played shell games with taxes for generations, and our challenge this time around is to be sure the money comes from where it's supposed to come and goes where it's supposed to go.

There are still financial state issues that Pritzker has failed to address, no matter what he says. The state’s bill backlog is in excess of $6.6 billion. Illinois' $133 billion in unfunded pension liabilities will not disappear, no matter how much every politician and every taxpayer wants to bury their heads in the sand and ignore it.

The efforts by Pritzker and his Springfield allies won't fix every ill. There may be decisions that will have to be reversed. But at least action has been taken on some of the things begging for solutions.

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