Gov. Quinn says Illinois is moving forward in State of the State address

Gov. Pat Quinn highlighted tax relief and the creation of new jobs in his State of the State address Wednesday afternoon.

With Illinois facing a large financial crisis, Quinn laid down his plans to rebuild the state’s economy.

“Now we all know that the economic storm is far from over,” he said. “While we have downsized Illinois government more than ever before, we continue to face very difficult decisions to restore financial stability to our state.”

During his speech, Quinn spoke about his Illinois Jobs Agenda for 2012 proposal. The agenda includes three tax cuts that will aim to help working families, veterans and employers.

The governor plans to eliminate the natural gas utility tax, referring to it as unfair and regressive. He also plans to establish the Child Tax Credit that will be applied to families with children. The last tax cut comes in the form of a Hiring Veterans Tax Credit.

“We will provide a significant tax credit for every unemployed veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan that a company hires,” he said. “This tax credit will help businesses create jobs and it will give those jobs to the veterans who have sacrificed so much in serving our state and our country.”

While Quinn outlined his ideas for tax credits, he didn’t acknowledge how the state will be able to afford them.

“I think the idea of having the Jobs Agenda is consistent with what needs to be done nationally,” said Robert Rich, directory of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs. “But frankly, I don’t know how we can afford these tax cuts. I also don’t know how this vision is consistent with the very large structural deficit.”

Education was another issue brought up by Quinn. He hopes that the number of adults with a college degree will continue rising and wants to accomplish this by investing more money in Early Childhood Education and raising the minimum school attendance age to 18. He also called for the General Assembly to provide more money towards state MAP college scholarships.

“If we want 60 percent of Illinois adults to have a meaningful career certificate or degree by 2025, we must invest in our students from birth to higher education,” he said.

Quinn not only spoke about his plans for the future, but also about the successes the state has seen during his the past three years in which he has been governor. He pointed out the automobile industry and the state construction program as examples of government-supported projects that have already created thousands of jobs for Illinois workers.

Many of the other achievements Quinn listed were geared towards families and education. The doubling of the Illinois Earned Income Tax Credit and the Illinois DREAM Act were a few that Quinn spoke about.

The speech ended with the governor ensuring that Illinois will continue to rebuild and recover from mistakes made by his predecessors.

“After three years of hard work and tough decisions, Illinois is back on course,” he said. “Illinois is moving forward and Illinois is a place that we can be proud to claim as our own.”