Study: Front-Running Illinois Senate Candidates Would Boost Budget, But by Different Degrees

Oct 29, 2010, 14:25 ET from National Taxpayers Union Foundation

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Oct. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Illinois Senate candidates Alexi Giannoulias and Mark Kirk have outlined different priorities for the federal budget, but they do share one outcome – higher expenditures. According to an analysis from the non-partisan National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF), Giannoulias's campaign platform would increase federal spending by over $76 billion, while Kirk's would boost the budget by over $700 million. However, both had significant proposals whose costs could not be readily tabulated.

"As candidates pile on the campaign promises in hopes of coming out on top, it can be easy to forget that their plans often substantially change the bottom line of the federal budget," NTUF Director of Congressional Analysis Jeff Dircksen noted. "NTUF's studies attempt to quantify these effects and inform the debate."

For the study, NTUF gathered information from the campaigns and media coverage on any proposals by the two leading Illinois Senate contenders that could impact federal spending. Cost estimates for these items were verified against independent sources such as the Congressional Budget Office, and through NTUF's BillTally system, which tracks all spending bills in Congress. Findings include:

  • Giannoulias's campaign promises would increase annual spending by a net of $76.278 billion. Fifty-five of his proposals would affect budget policy: 23 would increase outlays, two would reduce them, and 30 have costs that were impossible to determine.
  • Kirk's platform would nudge the budget upward by $730 million annually. NTUF found 28 proposals he made with a spending effect: nine to raise expenditures, one to lower them, and 18 without quantifiable estimates.
  • Giannoulias's proposals include an estimated $51.54 billion for a "cap-and-trade" carbon regulation/renewable energy plan, $4.591 billion to boost federal research and development funding, and $4.5 billion for a new "National Infrastructure Fund."
  • Kirk's agenda includes higher funding for airports ($2.776 billion) along with environmental cleanup and revitalization for the city of Rockford ($373 million), partially offset by savings ($2.575 billion) from medical liability reforms.

NTUF is the research and educational arm of the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union, a non-profit citizen group. Note: Cost analyses of five Senate races are available at

SOURCE National Taxpayers Union Foundation