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Watchdog: House Budget Plan May Not Help IL Economy, Jobs

A budget watchdog group says the Congressional Progressive Caucus's federal budget for FY 2017 could help bring more infrastructure jobs to Illinois. (iStockphoto)
A budget watchdog group says the Congressional Progressive Caucus's federal budget for FY 2017 could help bring more infrastructure jobs to Illinois. (iStockphoto)
April 14, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – As Illinois continues to grapple with a higher-than-average unemployment rate, House lawmakers are debating their federal budget this week, which could affect the state's job climate.

A budget watchdog group is comparing the details of several big budget proposals, including those from President Barack Obama, the House Budget Committee and the Congressional Progressive Caucus's People's Budget.

With Illinois' nearly six-and-half percent unemployment rate, Lindsay Koshgarian, research director with the National Priorities Project (NPP), says the People's Budget puts the most emphasis on jobs and the economy.

"The People's Budget in particular calls for over a trillion dollars in infrastructure spending, which is a great job creation tool," she states.

But the final details of the House plan still are being hammered out. And because of a longtime disagreement between House Republican leaders and Tea Party supporters over budget cuts, it is likely that the House will miss Friday's budget voting deadline.

Koshgarian says her research on public opinion polls shows that Americans want to see more federal investments in areas such as job creation, infrastructure, education, and the social safety net.

Out of the three proposals, she says the Congressional Progressive Caucus's plan hits most of those buttons.

"The People's Budget far and away matches the priorities that Americans have the best in terms of creating jobs and education and protecting programs that are extremely popular with Americans, like Medicare and Social Security," she states.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters Wednesday that he is considering all options for the House Budget plan as negotiations are expected to continue into at least next week.

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - IL