The Governor wrongly takes the short-term approach by proposing to increase taxes by more than $2 billion on Illinois families and another $2 billion dollars on Illinois employers. And some argue that we can cut our way out of this. The systemic solution to our economic crisis should include revenue increases through natural growth and spending reduction. The biggest failure to date is to realize that Illinois must refocus on job creation, with the higher quality of life and the additional state revenues those jobs will mean for Illinois and our families.
Over the last six years, Illinois has lost more than 700,000 jobs and more than $3 billion in revenue to the state each year.
To solve our economic climate, we must resolve ourselves to making Illinois a low cost-of-doing-business state, reducing taxes, fees, and bureaucratic delays so employers can create more good jobs for Illinois workers and a higher quality of life for their families. Our budget must be balanced, but not with the policies of pushing more jobs to neighboring states. Our short-term solutions include temporary reduction in spending, backed with reforms that eliminate our expensive tax fees and bureaucratic delays.
CHICAGO’S LEGISLATIVE LEADERS GUT CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORMS
Chicago’s legislative leaders have gutted meaningful campaign finance reform, leaving behind a half-measure that contains gaping loopholes. Much more is needed to restore the trust of Illinois citizens in their state government.
House Bill 7 was passed by a 36-22-1 vote of the Senate May 28. The legislation has drawn opposition from virtually every major reform organization in Illinois, including Patrick Collins, the head of Governor Pat Quinn’s Illinois Reform Commission.
Four months after we convicted a Governor in an impeachment trial, partly because of blatant campaign finance abuses, you might expect us to be voting on tough new campaign finance laws. It is unfortunate that what we are being asked to pass is but a shell of the reforms needed if Illinois citizens are ever to trust their government again.
Although House Bill 7 imposes some limits on campaign contributions, it contains major exceptions, including one that would allow transfers of up to $90,000 from other campaign funds.
Opponents point out the high limit and broad definitions in the bill would blunt its effectiveness.
One feature of the bill would allow lawmakers to set up special Constituent Services Committees. They could raise funds separately for these committees and use the money to supplement the state funding of their local offices. Opponents liken the new committees to a “slush fund” that would blur the lines between state business and campaigns and which would not be subject to the standards and scrutiny placed on taxpayer dollars.
Objecting to the loophole-laden measure are the Illinois Reform Commission, the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform and Change Illinois.
House Bill 7 now returns to the House for concurrence in changes made to the legislation in the Senate. There is no reason why lawmakers can not fix the problems in House Bill 7 before the General Assembly adjourns.
SENATOR BRADY ANNOUNCES SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS
Eight students who live in the 44th District and will be attending state universities in Illinois have been selected to receive General Assembly Scholarships for the 2009-2010 school year.
Illinois’ 177 state legislators have the privilege of awarding scholarships for full tuition to our public universities. My Scholarship Committee selected these students for scholarships because of their leadership qualities and academic accomplishments.
The students and the schools they plan to attend are:
* Jacob Jerome, Riverton, Riverton High School, University of Illinois-Springfield.
* Mary Joseph, Bloomington, Central Catholic High School, University of Illinois.
* Kaylie Cors, Clinton, Clinton High School, Southern Illinois University.
* Ross Johnson, Illiopolis, current University of Illinois student.
* Tyler Wiggs, Bloomington, current Illinois State University student.
* Andrew Lindgren, Atlanta, current University of Illinois student.
* Ryan Andris, Normal, current Illinois State University student, transferring to Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville.
* Aubrie Ghrist, Normal, current Illinois State University student.
Kudos to the central Illinois individuals and groups that come to the State Capitol and talk with me and other state officials about the issues important to you!
On May 27, I welcomed Kevin Baar of Bloomington, a 7th-grade student at Parkside Junior High School, to the Senate Chambers. Kevin served as my legislative page for the day.