For years, Senate Republicans have pushed the majority to reduce spending and stop creating new programs. The Senate GOP has encouraged Medicaid reform, submitting numerous cost-saving Medicaid measures that have been stalled by the Democrat majority. Republican lawmakers also pushed for commonsense workers’ compensation reforms to fight fraud and reduce the cost of doing business—without affecting benefits. However, the suggestions were declined.
Senate and House committees are filled with Republican proposals to cut spending and reform state programs. They were halted by the state’s Democrat leaders.
Republicans have also been frustrated because, as the trial of former Governor Rod Blagojevich gets under way, programs and policies that directly led to his impeachment have been left untouched and even expanded in recent years.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS HAVE BEEN BIPARTISAN
In contrast, looking at the accomplishments of the last two years, most have been bipartisan and in some cases, the final product directly mirrors recommendations first made by Republican legislators.
Changes to the state’s pension system to make them more affordable were first pushed by Senate Republicans.
Other examples of bipartisan cooperation include reforms of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (McPier), the 2009 infrastructure improvement program, financing changes that allowed mass transit in the Chicago region to keep running, a new law to encourage broadband expansion, and the bipartisan CLEAR Commission, which works to update the state’s criminal code.
A BETTER PLAN
The Republican plan is to scale back state government and stop creating new programs. Illinois must also reform the state’s largest expenditure – Medicaid – and create a better jobs climate by advancing litigation and workers’ compensation reforms.
The Senate GOP has called for reducing the cost of doing business for employers as a way to draw industry and grow jobs—because stimulating revenue through growing Illinois’ economy is the best way to close the state’s budget deficit.
Despite the rhetoric, Republicans have offered a budget approach—it’s just one the other party isn’t willing to discuss.