We are now in the 8th month of Illinois’ unprecedented budget impasse. Illinois’ backlog of unpaid bills is currently $7 billion and growing. People are hurting, because ministries are not being paid and services are being cut. And the word on the street is that Speaker Madigan won’t allow a resolution to this budget crisis to be voted on until after the November General Election. Instead of doing the right thing, he and the politicians he controls continue to hold the State hostage.
Into this storm, Gov. Bruce Rauner delivered his annual State of the State address last week. For 2016, Gov. Rauner has laid out a “transformation agenda,” with the goal of making Illinois government more effective and efficient. While some of these transformation items won’t make the front page of the morning paper, they will have a significant effect on how government services are delivered and at what cost. For instance, buying things for state government takes too long and costs too much. Simple reforms to how we purchase products and services for the state will save us over $500 million per year. Other states and private companies have made these changes, as part of “procurement reform,” and succeeded in both lowering the price paid for goods and services and lowering the cost of the process of buying itself.
You can click on the video below to hear my thoughts on the Governor’s address.
A top priority of mine is looking at how we deliver services to “the least of these,” those who are disabled or otherwise disadvantaged through no fault of their own. In the human services area, we have multiple agencies and programs doing the same thing, causing unnecessary duplication and increasing cost. In some agencies and programs, too much money goes to administration and not enough to direct service for people in need. Finally, even when the intervention reaches a needy person, that intervention may not be the most successful or effective way to assist them. What was “conventional wisdom” 30 or 40 years ago may not be best today, particularly in the healthcare field. Another galling example is that we keep open large institutions for the disabled because of political pressure, instead of serving disabled folks in smaller, more intimate group homes, which are often more effective and much less expensive.
All this is happening at a time when the charities that provide the best service to the less fortunate—and do so much cheaper than the state can—are being forced out of business, because the state won’t pay its bills. At this time of great need, it’s a sin how much money intended for helping people is misspent by the state government.
A substantial number of these reforms should be easy, bipartisan issues. But there’s a lot of tension in the air in Springfield, and we’re told that very few, if any, bills will pass the General Assembly this year. I’m doing what I can to bridge that divide, both in cosponsoring and working on bills offered by my Democratic colleagues and in just meeting folks over a quiet cup of coffee to figure out where we can reach common ground. But it’s an election year—a particularly unique, contentious election year—so we’ll see.
It’s my hope that the General Assembly will come together, to reform our state and do the work of governing. If that can’t happen, then I hope that the upcoming elections focus on the serious problems facing Illinois, and how each candidate will either help or hinder the solutions to those problems. One way or the other, we need to move forward and fix our state.
DuPage County Board District 4 Race Heats Up: I'm Backing Tim Elliott
With all the problems in Illinois, we need more principled people to run for public office at every level. That’s why I am pleased to endorse Tim Elliott for DuPage County Board District 4. I'd ask you to take a yard sign for him if you live in District 4. A map of District 4 can be found at www.dupageco.org/CountyBoard/Dist4Map/.
You can get a yard sign by either visiting www.timelliottforcountyboard4.com or by responding to this email with "I want a yard sign for Tim!" and your address. His volunteer team will get you a sign right away.
I see Tim as a person who will make us proud on the DuPage County Board. Tim's proven himself accountable to the residents of his community, and he has demonstrated the highest standard of ethics in his public service and in his professional work. When the reformers at College of DuPage needed an attorney they could trust, they turned to Tim. He is pro-life, and he is committed to stand up for the vulnerable and helpless in our human family. Tim is even an Eagle Scout!
Again, to request a yard sign for Tim or to learn more about him, go towww.timelliottforcountyboard4.com or you can call his campaign office at 630-510-4910. If you live in District 4, I'd appreciate your support for Tim Elliott.