House Takes Bold Steps to Control Spending

News from the State House

Observations and comments about state government by State Representative Robert W. Pritchard.

After nearly a decade of passing budgets that overspent available revenue, the House appears headed toward developing a balanced budget, making pension payments and setting spending priorities.  What’s even more amazing is that decisions are being made in public view and actually involving legislators.

Since I came to the legislature, budgets were developed secretly by the Speaker and presented for quick passage without much study or debate.  This year the budgeting process is entirely different.

As you may recall, during March the House passed an estimate of FY2012 revenue (HR 110) and this past week it passed legislation dividing that revenue among the five appropriation committees.  The funds were allocated to each general area of the budget based on the percentage spent in each area over the past six years.

Next, the House followed good budgeting practice by setting aside funds to pay the annual obligations of the state for payment of pension, debt, anticipated employee health care and transfers to local units of government and other obligations in five bills (HB 116, HB 117, HB 132, HB 3639 & HB 3697).  These items totaled $9.3 billion leaving $23.8 billion for the rest of government operations next year, $400 million less than the current budget.

Since revenue was calculated on the conservative side in the House and may actually be $1 billion more than that, my fellow representatives passed HR 158 which states that extra revenue would be used to pay unpaid bills.

Over the next month, the Speaker has indicated that appropriation committees will go line by line through the budget to set priorities, evaluate program outcomes and allocate available revenue.  By allocating revenue for specific programs in the budget, the legislature is fulfilling its constitutional duties and the Governor will have little discretion (like he has had in recent years) to reallocate money.

I encourage you to take a look at the programs in each of the five general areas and let me know your priorities.  You have been telling me that the state needs to cut spending just like families, businesses and local government have been doing.  Here’s your chance to decide.

District Office 815-748-3494 or E-Mail to

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Robert W. Pritchard (R-Hinckley) is the Illinois State Representative for the 70th district, serving the residents in portions of DeKalb, Boone, and Kane Counties. Bob has been serving in the Illinois House since 2003. Pritchard, affectionately known as Bob, has been serving in the Illinois House since 2003.

Bob was born February 2, 1945. He grew up on a farm outside Hinckley, Illinois where growing corn and soybeans instilled in him hard work and a sense of dedication. Bob and his family continue to their hard work by farming. He is married to his wife Mary, Associate Dean at Northern Illinois University, and has two grown sons, Matthew and Gregory.

Bob majored in communications from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) earning both his bachelors and masters degree. Bob’s passion for farming and his education in communication gave him the unique opportunity to enjoy working in both fields.

Professional Life
Beginning as a Radio and TV broadcaster for a local area stations, Bob delivered the farming updates and local weather reports. Bob took advantage of his skills and has worked for universities as well as filled marketing, public relations, and community relation roles at DeKalb Genetics Corporation and Monsanto.

Community Leader
Before becoming a member of the Illinois House of Representatives Bob was an energetic and busy contributor to the communities of DeKalb County. Getting his hands dirty in all parts of local government, Bob served on the Hinckley-Big Rock Board of Education. Bob was never far from his roots in the farming community, and was elected to a leadership position for the DeKalb County Farm Bureau. He also served as chairman for the DeKalb County Board.

Legislative History
Bob has diligently worked for the betterment on a wide gamut of issues from early childhood and education, healthcare, conservation and the environment, job creation, and protecting the manufacturing industry. The values of hard work and dedication that were instilled in Bob from his years of farming are reflected in his mentality of representing his constituents.