Brian's Column 05-29-2015

Springfield

The last week of session is coming to a close and we have yet to agree on a budget that will begin on July 1st. However, it’s not from a lack of effort. Working groups have been meeting for months to negotiate a bipartisan budget. Instead, Democrat leadership walked away from the table and crafted a budget that mirrors previous years’ budgets, leaving Illinois in snowballing debt.

House Speaker Mike Madigan introduced a $36 billion budget during a press conference on Memorial Day, $4 billion more than the expected $32 billion in revenue for FY2016. The Speaker made it clear that Democrat leadership would work with the Governor to find revenue to fund the $4 billion, but would not negotiate a bipartisan budget.

Only a tax increase will adequately fund the extra $4 billion the House Speaker wants to tack on to the budget. The last income tax increase he and his party passed to fix a budget deficit generated billions in revenue but did nothing to resolve Illinois’ financial woes.

Speaker Madigan’s unbalanced budget violates the Illinois Constitution. Article VIII, Section 2 (b), states that “The General Assembly by law shall make appropriations for all expenditures of public funds by the State. Appropriations for a fiscal year shall not exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that year.” The Illinois legislature repeatedly undermines the Constitution by passing budget after budget that exceeds funds available.

Illinois does not have the financial resources available to sustain its spending habits without significant reforms, reforms that must be made by cutting unnecessary expenses. It’s time for Illinois government to learn to live like you and I have—within our means.

Lincoln Sculpture Unveiled 

Local artist Ramon “Jay” Castro crafted and donated a 27 inch bronze sculpture of Captain Abraham Lincoln to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum this past week. The sculpture was created to remind the nation of history of the Black Hawk War of June, 1832, which included citizen soldier Abraham Lincoln. The experience of the conflict the young militia captain witnessed certainly reflected on decisions he would later make as President.  

The not-for-profit project, sponsored by Stephenson County, is aiming to place a 7 foot bronze sculpture of Captain Abraham Lincoln at the Black Hawk War Memorial, located near Kent, Illinois, site of the 1882 Kellogg’s Grove Battle. The Lincoln sculpture will complement the National Historic Plaque, laid in 1969.

The sculpture will be on display at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in honor of the project and local artist. Donations for the project can be mailed to, Captain Lincoln Sculpture, State Bank of Freeport, PO Box 778, Freeport, Illinois 61032.

Memorial Day

On Memorial Day the House honored and remembered those who were called to serve our country. Thank you to all the men and women who have sacrificed their lives so that we can live ours. We also cannot fail to forget the families who have lost a loved one for their country. It is a true honor to know we live in the best nation in the world. Please don’t neglect to remember the fallen. They sacrificed their freedom for yours. As we honor our fallen heroes and as we consider the recent shenanigans in Springfield, let us consider an apt quote by Mark Twain: “patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”  

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