By: Rep. Jeanne Ives*
No one should be surprised that group think instead of rational choices surround the 13 interconnected bills of the “Grand Bargain” under consideration in the Illinois Senate. It is wholly predictable given the longevity of the Senate leaders involved. They’ve been working together for nearly two decades. They put in place many of the policies now taking a toll on our state. They are the beneficiaries of generous pensions when they retire, excessive pay for their part-time jobs, and the public attention and stature of the positions they hold. What’s new now is the heat is on. Calls to “DO SOMETHING!” echo throughout the state. But after decades of living in the Springfield bubble, Senate leaders have forgotten the common Illinoisan in the “Grand Bargain.”
In doing so, they misread entirely the mood of the people and depth of our troubles. Understand, Illinois is not a middle of the pack state. We are an outlier. We are failing in nearly every financial category, which is what matters to taxpayers and businesses that fund government. We need revolutionary reform.
Instead, Senate leaders John Cullerton and Christine Radogno propose marginal, ineffective pension reform instead of pension reform that moves new hires into 401(K) style retirement accounts which the vast majority of taxpayers have.
They propose worker compensation reform that neglects the Causation Standard, which is the biggest reform that is needed.
They propose massive gambling expansion – 6 new casinos – knowing full well that original gaming bill set up to fund education never met its goal to do so.
They propose some procurement reform when the biggest cost to government is labor that is controlled by union collective bargaining agreements and real reform would be proposing labor and arbitration reform.
They propose a massive tax increase and new taxes without reigning in spending.
And after these proposals, they went to the editorial boards to sell the ideas because they knew if they brought it directly to the people they would be laughed at.
They are out of touch with taxpayers in Illinois. They operate in an environment controlled by lobbyists, crony capitalists, public sector unions, and weak kneed legislators focused almost exclusively on their next election.
Truly, the inmates are running the asylum. Illinoisans needs independent-minded leaders who know what life is like for families and businesses outside the Capitol Building.
*Jeanne M. Ives is a Republican member of the Illinois House of Representatives for the 42nd district which includes Carol Stream, Lisle, Warrenville, Wheaton, Winfield and West Chicago.