As kids go back to school and families settle into their fall routines, I wanted to provide an update on issues that affect the 54th District and the citizens of Illinois. Lawmakers have spent the last few months in their home districts tending to the needs of their local constituents, and I have spent a great deal of time meeting with residents to discuss their concerns and suggestions for how we can improve this great state. I always enjoy these meetings because they really do help guide my representation of this area in Springfield.
Senator Matt Murphy to Step Down in September
Look for the Morrison-Murphy Booth at Palatine’s Streetfest
Stopgap Budget Measure Sets Stage for Huge Tax Hike
As I reported earlier this year, when the House and Senate approved the FY17 K-12 spending plan and six-month stopgap package for other essential services, I was one of four “no” votes in the House of Representatives. At the time I expressed my fear that the approved package, if extended over 12 months, would be far from balanced and would necessitate a huge tax increase. As we gain a complete understanding of the magnitude of that vote, I stand by my “no” vote more than ever. I came to Springfield to fight for the overburdened taxpayers of this state, and with the approval of the stopgap measure, those who voted for it set a plan in motion that will require the citizens of Illinois to pay higher taxes next year.
According to the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, a non-partisan and respected source for financial data, if extended over 12 months, the stopgap measure spends $8 billion more than what the state is expected to bring in. With no reforms written into the measure, it was business as usual with the majority party continuing with their tiresome tax-and-spend philosophy.
Sadly, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle were strong-armed into supporting the measure due to threats that schools would not open on time this fall, and that social service providers for our most vulnerable populations would collapse and close their doors. Within hours of the signing of the stopgap measures, Moody’s downgraded the credit ratings of most of the state’s public universities because of state government’s failure to enact a balanced budget. The analysts at Moody’s recognized that the stopgap did not restore any measure of financial health to the state, and they alerted bond investors of the continuing downward spiral of Illinois’ finances.
The financial crisis in this state will only be remedied when more lawmakers take bold steps to insist upon balanced spending and an end to unsustainable pensions. I have been a long-time advocate of moving all future employees to more of a 401(k) type of benefit plan, and I will continue to file legislation to make this change a reality. I will also continue to fight for reforms that promote business growth and an improved economy, and that will eliminate the waste, fraud and abuses that plague our government systems.