The governor’s State of the State address focused on a number of reforms and initiatives he would like to see. Gov. Pat Quinn used his address to call for an end to Illinois' tax on natural gas to help businesses and families alike. He also proposed the creation of a new tax credit for parents with children. He says it will save $100 a year for the average family of four. The Democratic governor also said Illinois should expand an existing tax credit for companies that hire unemployed veterans.
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Quinn had little to say about Illinois' budget problems but did mention that reforms of government pensions and the Medicaid health care program must be undertaken by lawmakers. Details on how that could be accomplished will likely come at his budget presentation later this month. The governor also called on lawmakers to expand on scholarships like the Monetary Assistance Program, or MAP, in order to help more college bound students. By 2025 Quinn wants at least 60 percent of adults in Illinois to have a college degree, an associate degree or a career certificate. He says providing more MAP grants would help reach that goal.
Wrapping up his speech, Quinn referenced the fiscal status of the state. “We have real challenges to tackle,” Quinn said. “Like all of you, I recognize the severity of our fiscal situation. But cuts alone will not resolve this situation. We must build and grow our economy.” Quinn has been touting job creation as a way to help pull Illinois out of debt.