Illinois state Rep. Mike Unes, R-East Peoria, spoke to Illinois REALTORS® on Jan. 16, 2018, at the association’s public policy meetings. Pictured are Julie Sullivan, Senior Director of Legislative & Political Affairs, Unes, Greg St. Aubin, Senior Vice President for Governmental Affairs and Illinois REALTORS® President Matt Difanis.

In 2017, lawmakers were confronted with mounting bills, staggering pension liability and a state government that went more than two years without a budget.

The situation was dire, and state Rep. Mike Unes, R-East Peoria, said the lack of a budget caused unpaid bills to soar from $5 billion to more than $16 billion.

“There’s nothing conservative about stiffing those who render services,” said Unes. “To render services and not pay, that’s un-American. There’s nothing morally correct about that.”

Unes spoke to Illinois REALTORS attending an RPAC+Political Involvement Strategic Planning Session on Tuesday as part of the association’s Public Policy Meetings held in Unes’ home district. This is the seventh time Unes has spoken at the Public Policy Meetings.

Despite the battle over the state’s budget, Unes noted that there was one victory: “The budget actually cut state spending.”

Unes told the REALTORS® the 2018 session will be tough as well. Lawmakers return next week to Springfield to confront many of the same fiscal issues.

He said pension reform needs to be a priority because unfunded liability continues to grow.

“It’s out of respect for state employees that we fix it,” Unes said. “I think it can be fixed and it can be done in a bipartisan fashion.”