To the Editor,
It was an idea heard in coffee shops around the state: “stop paying legislators.” Comptroller Leslie Munger must have heard the suggestion because over the weekend she announced that legislators will have to wait to be paid just like the state is making other providers wait. I applaud the actions of the Comptroller and hope this will give the needed push for the legislature to pass a FY2016 budget.
I am hearing from my constituents every day about the worsening problems the lack of a state budget is causing providers across the state and in our area. What is needed is for rank and file members to step up and propose bipartisan solutions.
Groups of legislators from both parties and both legislative chambers have been meeting privately for months in search of reforms, spending reductions and new revenue to craft a budget agreement. Making compromises is difficult but perhaps feeling the pain that state providers, college students and higher education institutions have been feeling for 10 months will create urgency.
Legislative leaders must be feeling some pressure as well because last week they met with the Governor for the first time since December to renew the search for a budget solution. Their staffs are now resuming discussions just like the budget working groups I participated in last summer.
Among the ideas being floated are reforms to work compensation and procurement policies, amending the State Constitution’s pension protection clause, broadening the sales tax, a graduated state income tax, hiking the income tax rate, and taxes on retirement benefits. I urge citizens to study the issues and let legislators hear your views. Together we can find the right balance that will restart our economy and again make Illinois a desirable place to live and work.