NEWS

Editorial: Get down to state business

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Day one of the Illinois Legislature special session was just as predicted: expensive and meaningless.

State taxpayers will pay an estimated $80,000 to cover the expense of summoning senators and assemblymen back to Springfield for two days, to listen and watch the governor and the Speaker of House argue about politics. The crux of the issue is a $2 billion budget deficit that lawmakers left on the table when the regular session of the Legislature was adjourned in May.

For those who don’t keep up with the frustrating business that is our state government, you will remember that legislators walked away from the budget knowing that there was a deficit and effectively telling the governor that he would have to make the cuts necessary to balance spending with revenue.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich, for his part, asked lawmakers to approve revenue measures necessary to raise the amount of money needed to meet most of the spending items in the budget. Many of the legislators openly questioned whether the governor would use the revenue generated by the proposed initiatives to fund items listed in the budget, or re-allocate the money for special projects. In other words, many of the lawmakers, even in the Governor’s party, did not trust Blagojevich with the funds.

One can only hope that the Governor, Speaker Mike Madigan, and other influential state politicians soon find the common ground necessary to fix the current budget mess and adopt a much-needed capital spending plan.

Freeport Journal-Standard