Today, as we honor the birthday and legacy of President Ronald Reagan, Illinois
citizens were presented with Governor Quinn’s State of the State Address. Reagan
once stated, “If you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.” Quinn’s statements today showed no signs that he has seen the light.
Quinn’s catch-phrase was, “This is our Illinois.” In talking about “our Illinois,” the Governor pointed to the expansion of green initiatives, an investment in a longer lasting battery, government oversight of utility companies, raising the minimum wage, increased gun control and ethics reforms that have yet to be proven effective and should have never been necessary in the first place, stating “In our Illinois, we address the hard issues.”
I noticed that in his depiction of “Our Illinois,” the governor glossed over a few hard issues, such as the fact that:
- In our Illinois, Pre-K -12 education funding has
fallen every year since 2009 (and will lose $400 million more this year), as
payments into our collapsing pension system have risen from $2.2 billion to
$5.1 billion in the same time
- In our Illinois, we have raised our personal and
corporate income taxes and paid ALL revenues into outstanding pension
- In our Illinois, We have over $200 billion in unfunded
- In our Illinois, we owe $6.25 billion to state vendors
- In our Illinois, we have $3 billion in unpaid Medicaid
- In our Illinois, we have seen 4 credit downgrades in
the past 2 years
Like House Democrats, who yesterday went back on all of their campaign promises, as they shoved through an egregious, pork-laden $2.1 billion spending bill, Gov. Quinn’s State of the State Address was a disappointment.
Because Democrat legislators, who have held a majority in the General Assembly for over a decade and are now a super-majority, refuse to “see the light,” every remaining citizen in Illinois has been forced to feel the heat. And it is painful.
Pat Quinn and Illinois State Democrats have proven in the past two days that they are not serious about long term solutions for easing that pain. Opting, instead to bury their heads in the sand, take any crumbs they can scrounge out of their legislation and hope that the problems just go away.
We need legislators on both sides of the aisle to have the courage to face these problems, recognize that there are no easy answers and that fundamental changes must be made. Then work to implement real, sustainable solutions.
I am willing to work with anyone who is serious about tackling these problems in an independent-minded and results-oriented manner. Politics should not stand in the way of implementing real reform aimed at solving our pension & budget crisis, getting people in Illinois back to work and making our school system worthy of our children.
Gov. Quinn repeatedly stated that there is more work to do. I agree. Illinois is laden with overwhelming andcomplex problems that are desperate for solutions. That, Governor Quinn, is our Illinois.