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Illinois House Republican Leader hoping for balanced state budget

Tony McCombie speaking at a news conference in Springfield last fall.
Peter Hancock
Capitol News Illinois
Tony McCombie speaking at a news conference in Springfield last fall.

The head of the Illinois House Republican caucus says her top priority is to pass a balanced state budget. But she has concerns about how that will be accomplished.

“The definition of ‘balanced’ will be the question,” said House Republican Leader Tony McCombie.

“The speaker says it will be balanced. But does balanced mean we will borrow funds from other agencies and other funds? Yes. Does it mean that we will move funds from one fund to another? Yes. I don’t hope for that, but it’s been that way ever since I’ve been there.”

She said such maneuvering lacks transparency.

McCombie is in her seventh year as a state representative, and her first year as House Republican Leader.

McCombie said Representatives Norine Hammond and Amy Elik are working hard to make sure Republicans have a presence at the table during budget discussions. Hammond is chief budgeteer for House Republicans, and Elik is the party’s deputy budgeteer.

McCombie also said she meets weekly with House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, and she speaks with Governor JB Pritzker every 12 to 15 days.

“It’s not always real policy-heavy conversations, but they’re conversations. I think that’s a positive for Republicans, Democrats, and independents,” she said

“I think to have a mutual respect for one another is certainly something that has been lost for some period of time. We have that and we continue to work on that.”

McCombie made her comments to TSPR while she was in Macomb, where she was a guest speaker at the Lincoln Day Dinner for McDonough County Republicans.

McCombie also said Republicans won’t support any carbon capture pipeline legislation that fails to protect the rights of property owners – they don’t want to allow eminent domain for private companies.

“They have to go through the process like other public utilities and for the public good, and they have to negotiate just like everybody else does,” she said.

McCombie graduated from Western Illinois University, which she said “is certainly near and dear to my heart.” She anticipates lawmakers will approve a funding increase for public higher education and for MAP grants this year.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Copyright 2023 Tri States Public Radio. To see more, visit Tri States Public Radio.

Rich is the News Director at Tri States Public Radio. Rich grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago but now calls Macomb home. Rich has a B.A in Communication Studies with an Emphasis on Radio, TV, and Film from Northern Illinois University. Rich came to love radio in high school where he developed his “news nerdiness” as he calls it. Rich’s high school had a radio station called WFVH, which he worked at for a couple years. In college, Rich worked at campus station WKDI for three years, spinning tunes and serving at various times as General Manager, Music Director and Operations Manager. Before being hired as Tri States Public Radio’s news director in 1998, Rich worked professionally in news at WRMN-AM/WJKL-FM in Elgin and WJBC-AM in Bloomington. In Rich’s leisure time he loves music, books, cross-country skiing, rooting for the Cubs and Blackhawks, and baking sugar frosted chocolate bombs. His future plans include “getting some tacos.”