Springfield - Illinois soil; it's good for growing corn and soybeans, which in turn is good for our economy.
Unless lawmakers extend the income tax increase that is set to expire this year, the Department of Agriculture's director, Bob Flider, says heavy cuts could be possible, on top of massive cuts in recent years.
"It would cut a 27% hole in our general revenue fund. 58% of our general revenue fund has been cut since 2006. 2002 we had 600 employees. We're about 345 right now," Flider told WAND News on Friday.
It's no big secret that agriculture is the state's number one job creator, and it's no big secret that it's the number one contributor to our economy. Director Flider says that if such massive budget cuts happen, it will have devastating effects. Which could mean thousands of jobs, and hundreds of millions of dollars leaving the state.
"Specialty meat stores, there's about 220 throughout Illinois, if we don't have an inspector, those facilities can't remain open, and they may employ 5 to 12 people. And the answer to the question of would we lose sales to other states, the answer is I'm afraid we would, I'm afraid we'd see our other states getting those sales. If we're not able to help sell Illinois products overseas, if when the tax rates go down, it's going to cause at least a couple billion dollars of lost revenue for the state of Illinois," Flider added.
House and Senate Republicans have already said they oppose extending that tax increase, saying that taxpayers were promised it would be temporary, and that's the way it should be.