Illinois Republicans say the state budget and national economy are key to their political fortunes next year.
They hope to chip away at the Democratic majority in the state legislature and protect the congressional seats they picked up in 2010.
As they gathered at the Illinois State Fair on Thursday, Republican leaders accused Democrats of mismanaging the Illinois budget. They criticized the recent income tax increase and Gov. Pat Quinn's proposal to borrow money to pay overdue bills that are piling up.
Illinois legislators are preparing to debate a plan that would combine two elected offices into one.
The proposal would change the state Constitution, combining the Treasurer's office and the Comptroller's office. Both deal with the finances of Illinois, the treasurer with investments and the comptroller is in charge of dispersing the state's money.