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We are days away from the start of a
new fiscal year, and yet, no budget agreement is in sight. We are
ready and willing to work with our colleagues on both sides of the
aisle but feel strongly that any budget agreement must provide for
adequate funding of education and health care, while promoting both
job retention and job growth.
The state's economy cannot grow as it
should without creating more jobs and retaining existing ones. There
is no question that jobs are the necessary fuel for real economic
growth in the state.
There is a Republican consensus that
the state budget should not contain tax hikes. Fee hikes also are
counterproductive, as last year's disastrous fee hikes on truckers
proved. Instead of raising revenue, the hikes drove business out of
Illinois to adjoining states with lower fees and, apparently, a
better understanding of what is necessary to encourage business
Yet, the governor insists that fee
hikes be levied on more employers. We, of course, are opposed to
We also are opposed to the governor's
irresponsible approach to crafting a budget by borrowing more in
order to spend more. We are particularly concerned with the
governor's stated intention to raid the state's road fund in order
to satisfy his appetite to spend more and more.
[to top of
second column in this article]
Concern about resolving the budget
crisis has overshadowed other important concerns that must be
addressed. In addition to the budget, we must also reach a consensus
prior to adjournment on how best to remedy the growing physician
flight from the state.
The state is experiencing a real crisis
of physician flight as malpractice insurance rates climb so high
that doctors are literally priced out of the state or forced to end
Physician flight has resulted in vast
areas of the state being left without adequate health care. There
are no neurosurgeons left in the state below Interstate 72, and the
remaining obstetrician-gynecologists are limiting the scope of their
practices because of liability concerns. We must find a way to solve
We are also willing to work with our
Democrat colleagues in both the House and Senate to reach agreement
on a responsible budget that honors our priorities.
Larry Bomke, state senator
Rich Brauer, state representative
While I am glad that the Illinois
Department of Public Health has put out a warning about pertussis, I
wish the same would have been have been done last summer in my
community. I almost lost my 4-week-old daughter last September when
she contracted pertussis at the tender age of 2 weeks.
After finding out what she had we
discovered that there were around 15-30 cases of it in the two
counties that I live in. My local public health department said that
those numbers were pretty close to what they had.
When I asked why the public had not
been warned about it, she said that that was not done; they didn't
want to "scare" people. Had I been "scared," I might not have taken
my daughter out as much or as soon as I did.
Thank goodness she is fine and healthy
now. She is a bright and happy 10-month-old baby. A far cry from the
7 pound, 4-week-old baby with feeding tubes down her nose and
monitors hooked up all over her body.