CITIZENS AND LEGISLATORS TURNED AWAY AT GOVERNOR'S OFFICE
Citizens from across Illinois were turned away March 7 when they
asked to meet with the Governor about skyrocketing utility rates.
People who traveled from central, western, and southeastern
Illinois to participate in the "Bring Your Power Bill to the
Governor" Day were turned away by a security official who stated
that the Governor was only available to meet with those who had
Initially, the group met with Senator John O. Jones of Mt.
Vernon, Senator Dale Risinger of Peoria and me outside the
Governor's office in the Capitol. We had stacks of power bills from
all over the state and hoped to hand them over to the Governor
personally and ask him to take the lead on this issue.
This is the most important issue affecting us today and the
Governor's lack of leadership is pathetic. He should call a special
session to bring about the solution.
Citizens can send copies of their bills, with personal
information obscured, to Office of the Governor, 207 State House,
Springfield, IL 62701 (fax: 217-524-4049).
ALLOWING CITIZENS TO VOTE FOR U OF I BOARD
Questions have been raised about whether the University of
Illinois' Board of Trustees violated the Open Meetings Act when they
made their decision to retire Chief Illiniwek. I have asked the
Office of the Attorney General to investigate.
I am also sponsoring legislation, which is being added to Senate
Bill 1276, that will allow Illinois voters to once again elect the
Board of Trustees, instead of having the Trustees appointed by the
The Board of Trustees announced Feb. 16 that Chief Illiniwek's
last appearance after 81 years as the university's symbol was Feb.
21, during the last men's home basketball game. Since that time, the
media have reported that some of the Trustees disagreed with the
manner in which the decision was reached.
BLAGOJEVICH CALLS FOR MORE SPENDING, HIGHER DEBT
As he begins his second term, Governor Rod Blagojevich continues
on the same fiscally dangerous course, balancing a fifth year of
higher spending, deeper debt and pension gimmickry squarely on the
backs of Illinois businesses, the citizens they employ and the
consumers who buy their goods or use their services.
Blagojevich outlined his $49.1 billion budget proposal for Fiscal
Year (FY) 2008 to a joint session of the General Assembly on March
7. Fiscal Year 2008 runs from July 1, 2007, through June 30, 2008.
The Governor's plan includes programs with laudable goals --
universal healthcare and more money for schools -- but the costs are
staggering and place an even greater strain on a state budget
relying on record-high state debt, a record-high backlog of unpaid
bills and continued attacks on the state's jobs climate.
Not included in the Blagojevich plan are measures that would
provide property tax relief or utility rate relief for Illinois
citizens and businesses. This is the biggest tax increase in the
state's history and there's not a dime to give homeowners, senior
citizens, and small businesses relief from high property taxes.
Blagojevich wants to implement a $2.1 billion universal
healthcare program and increase education funding by $1.5 billion --
to be paid by a $6 billion gross receipts tax on businesses and a
healthcare payroll tax that will eventually cost business more than
$1.1 billion per year. He wants to shore up the state's pension
system -- which he has systematically raided for years -- with a $10
billion lottery lease and $16 billion sale of pension bonds.
Our Governor is one for high drama. Well, here's a drama he
should consider -- a tale of two economic realities. He claims it is
the best of times, but with this budget, it will be the worst of
times in Illinois.
FACTS NOT MENTIONED BY THE GOVERNOR IN HIS SPEECH
There were several facts that the Governor did not mention in his
budget proposal includes the largest spending increase in the
history of the state -- $3.1 billion.
plan includes the largest tax increase in Illinois history -- $6
billion gross receipts tax on business. That is bigger than the
previous six largest tax increases in Illinois history combined.
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budget would include the largest borrowing in the history of the
-- $16 billion.
The Governor is
asking for $32 billion in new dollars ($6 billion tax hike, $10
billion lottery sale and $16 billion borrowing).
In one year, Rod
Blagojevich will increase spending nearly as much as during his
entire first term.
doubled state debt in his first term; now he will quadruple it.
General Obligation debt will be four times what it was when he
took office, going from $9 billion to $36 billion.
NO FRIEND OF BUSINESS
Illinois employers, and the jobs they provide, have long been the
target of Blagojevich and his budgeteers.
In his first year, Blagojevich raised 300 taxes and fees, sending
jobs out of Illinois and into other states. Illinois's job growth
rate of 1.9 percent is the 8th worst in the nation since Blagojevich
took office, and lags behind neighboring states of Missouri (2.6
percent), Indiana (2.8 percent), Kentucky (3.5 percent), Wisconsin
(3.7 percent) and Iowa (5.4 percent).
Strong economic and job growth would be a better solution to
Illinois' budget woes that record tax increases. If Illinois ranked
8th best in job creation, instead of 8th worst, Illinois would have
500,000 more jobs today. Based on the estimate that each job
generates $4,000 in tax revenue, those jobs would be generating $2
billion in additional state tax revenues this year.
Since January, I have been going to communities in each of the
seven central Illinois counties I represent to talk with their
citizens about the real "state of our state." Medicaid, healthcare
and pensions are taking more and more of our tax dollars -- one
business group has estimated $106 billion in unfunded commitments or
a debt of $8,800 for every man, woman and child in Illinois.
Citizens must understand the serious economic challenges we face.
LOGAN COUNTY "STATE OF STATE" MEETING SCHEDULED
Sen. Bill Brady's next "state of the state" will be a lunch
meeting at noon March 16 at the Maple Club, 1458 State Route 121, in
Lincoln, co-hosted by the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce
and the Logan County Farm Bureau.
Reservations are needed and can be made by contacting either the
Farm Bureau at 217/732-7326 or the Chamber of Commerce at
217/735-2385. The cost of the lunch is $15 per person and can be
paid at the door.
The 44th District Senator has already met with citizens in
Tazewell County on Jan. 19, McLean County on Feb. 21, DeWitt County
on Feb. 22, Christian County on March 1, and Macon County on March
2. A meeting in Sangamon County will be announced when details are
UPDATE!! SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS
DUE MARCH 30
We have extended the deadline for applying for General Assembly
scholarships by two weeks. Students who will be attending state
universities in Illinois may now submit applications to my office
through March 30.
Students whose permanent addresses lie within the 44th District
are eligible. Eight one-year tuition waivers -- for fall 2007,
spring 2008 and summer 2008 -- are available to students who will be
attending state universities, with one specifically designated for a
nursing student and one for the child of a veteran.
A panel of community and education leaders will evaluate
applications and select scholarship recipients. I will not be
involved in the decision-making process.
Students are encouraged to write to my office to request an
application at 2203 Eastland Drive, Suite 3, Bloomington, IL 61704
(309/664-4440). All requests should include the student's home and
school address (if applicable) and phone numbers.
General Assembly Scholarships are presented by all Illinois
lawmakers to college students across the state. Selection is based
upon merit of the applicants.
REMEMBER TO SET CLOCKS FORWARD THIS WEEKEND
Starting this year, daylight time begins on the second Sunday in
March and ends on the first Sunday in November. On the second Sunday
in March, clocks are set ahead one hour at 2:00 a.m. local standard
time, which becomes 3:00 a.m. local daylight time.
[Text copied from file received from
Sen. Bill Brady]