Illinois Conservatives endorse the Illinois Policy Institute’s budget plan

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The biggest issue in Illinois is building to a volcanic crescendo. That issue is the state budget. As everyone knows, there has been a deadlock on the budget since Bruce Rauner was elected governor. The pressure to pass a budget has become so great that Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R) and Senate Majority Leader John Cullerton (D) met to devise a “Grand Bargain.” The plan consisted of 13 separate bills that were heavy on revenue increases in the form of tax increases and borrowing, and light in spending cuts and reforms. The public outcry was so great that the planned votes were tabled until new bills could be created to be voted on the week of February 7th.
In the meantime, the credit agencies have responded to our budget impasse with yet another downgrade of our credit rating. This means that borrowing for the state is more expensive than it was when the “Grand Bargain” was formulated. Even if every provision of all 13 bills could be passed, the “Grand Bargain” as constructed is not balanced. It loses money. Every Illinoisan knows that when times are tough, we need to cut back. We do it in our personal lives all the time. This is nothing new. Unfortunately, in the Twilight Zone that is Springfield, the thought of cutting spending is laughed at. We are told that any serious budget proposal must have a significant revenue component. We are told that this revenue is in the form of additional taxes and borrowing from our future. Growth is not a consideration. These budget schemes and perceptions are what have driven the exodus of citizens from our great state. There is a plan that can reverse this trend. There is a plan that can grow the tax base… a plan that can reduce the scope of government… keep pensions solvent AND hold to the state constitution… a plan that can balance the budget without raising taxes or going further into debt.
This past Tuesday, the Illinois Policy Institute released their plan: Budget Solutions 2018. The IPI budget proposal is a plan that really looks at the budget cost drivers, shows how out of line they are with our neighbors, and what can be done about them with the least impact on rendering services to Illinoisans. All of the news stories and op-ed columns recently have pushed the narrative that we have to accept that revenue (tax) increases will and must be part of any budget solution. We submit that this is a false narrative. One can look at the tax increases in 2010 under Governor Pat Quinn as the proof. The rates were slightly higher than what was proposed in the “Grand Bargain.” Did it balance the budget? No. Did it expedite the outward migration of our citizens and dwindle down the tax base? You bet it did. Will the “Grand Bargain” do the same? Without a doubt.
Raising taxes is the easiest thing for politicians to do. They know they have a captive audience that can’t lobby Springfield, while they can assure their donors that they will not need to make changes in their pet programs. We elect our representatives to make tough, adult decisions. The Illinois Policy Institute budget plan maps out these slightly tough, but decidedly adult decisions. Illinois Conservatives endorses this plan.

 

Link to IPI Budget

 

 

Illinois Conservatives Interview Series: State Representative Allen Skillicorn

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State Representative Allen Skillicorn was elected to his first term in the Illinois House of Representatives last November, defeating Democrat Nancy Zettler in a race that was a key hold for Republicans seeking to break the Democratic supermajority in the State House. Representative Skillicorn now represents the 66th Representative District. Skillicorn ran as a “Real Deal Reformer,” and promised to fight for lower taxes, jobs, and government reform. Illinois Conservatives reached out to Representative Skillicorn as part of our interview series of conservative leaders in Illinois. The interview is presented below.

 

Q. What is your position on the “Grand Compromise” being discussed in the State Senate?


A. First, I cannot and will not support a tax hike without SIGNIFICANT reforms. Illinois spends too much on pensions and Medicaid. Illinois’ economy is shackled by high workers compensation costs and restrictive employment regulations. We need reforms far more than additional revenue to waste on inefficient government. Second, this Grand Compromise doesn’t even balance the budget for a few years. I took an oath to uphold the Illinois Constitution, that Constitution requires a balanced budget. Every Senator that supports this is violating the Constitution.

Q. If your position is “For” what are the attractive aspects? If “Against” what are the non-starters for you and what would you fight for as a necessary part of any compromise?

A. Against – Higher taxes, lack of real reform. Even the property tax freeze includes loopholes that allow taxing bodies to continue violating the intent of the tax cap law.

 

Q. What are your goals to accomplish during your first term in office?

A. I am optimistic that other reformers and I can pass some legislation, but more importantly transform the narrative of the Republican Caucus. Too many times in the past decade Republicans have been content to take the scraps left out from Madigan. We need to challenge the bad policies on every front and in every committee hearing. We also must challenge our own leadership when necessary. There are already some great conservative leaders like Representatives Ives, Morrison, McSweeney, Batinick, and others. We need to expand this Conservative Caucus every cycle going forward.

Q. Do you believe that State Legislatures deserve a pension?

A. Hell NO! No government employee or politician should get special treatment different from their private sector constituents. All politicians should use self-directed defined contribution retirement plans like the private sector uses. Part time politicians like county board or township trustees should never receive any pension.  

 

Q. What does being a conservative mean to you?

A. The modern definition should be to follow a strict interpretation of the Constitution and free market capitalism. How would George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, or Ronald Reagan define to role and scope of government? Milton Friedman would call this a Classical Liberal position, William F. Buckley could use the term Paleo-Conservative. I would use the term Constitutional Conservative. We should be reminded of Barry Goldwater’s quote, “A Conservative looks upon politics as the art of achieving the maximum amount of freedom for individuals that is consistent with the maintenance of the social order.”

Q. How do you believe we should fix the workers compensation mess in Illinois?

A. First, we need to repeal former Governor Blagojevich’s sweetener legislation from 2005. Twelve years ago, Illinois was middle of the pack for Worker’s Comp costs. Twenty-four months after passing that sweetener law, Illinois was the 4th highest in the nation according to a study from the University of Oregon. Second, we need a strict causation standard preventing non-workplace injury abuse. Literally one suburban village has a public employee on permanent disability from a Jet Ski accident. I’m not making this stuff up.

Q. Do you support the bill currently in the State Senate (SB50) that would legalize the use
of suppressors in Illinois, as well as provide for some new aspects of gun control?

A. I fully support the use and sale of suppressors for hearing protection. Currently the federal government regulates suppressors and even taxes them. There is no reasonable excuse why Illinois needs to ban them.

Q. What is your position on term limits for Illinois State Legislators?

A. I support term limits and have introduced legislation to put the question on the ballot.

Q. You just filed a bill (HB501) that would allow Illinois municipalities to file under Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. What are the key advantages and what are the chances this bill will get out of committee and be voted on?

 

A. Some local taxing bodies like Chicago Public Schools are in such poor fiscal position, and they will never recover without massive tax hikes or Chapter 9 bankruptcy. My intention is to let the courts decide, without political restrictions, if collective bargaining agreements, pensions, and other contracts will be renegotiated to benefit the taxpayers. Detroit was saved by Chapter 9 and I believe many Illinois municipalities are in a similar situation.

 

By: Connor Kaeb

It’s time to cut Illinois property taxes

Property taxes are hurting Illinois families and each day that goes by without tax relief, the worse this problem becomes. Everywhere that I go in my district, people tell me that high property taxes are forcing them to think about leaving the state. We have to stop the exodus from Illinois.

We not only need to freeze property tax levies, we need to cut them. Taxpayers simply cannot afford to pay ever-escalating property taxes.

My constituents are also worried about the massive tax increase being considered by the Illinois State Senate that liberal Democrats and some Republicans are promoting. The Senate tax increase bill would increase both the personal and corporate income tax rates by 33% and impose a massive new job-killing tax on small businesses. In Springfield and at the local level, we need to cut spending – not raise taxes!

Recently, I filed House Bill 1768, which would require most units of government to cut property tax levies by 10 percent over two years and then permanently freeze property tax levies at the reduced level. School districts and community colleges would be immediately required to permanently freeze their property tax levies. The only way that property taxes could be increased is by a local voter referendum.

I also strongly support efforts to reduce unfunded mandates on all local governments.

The relief Illinois residents need is an immediate reduction in property taxes. Only with reduced property taxes can we begin to stop people from leaving Illinois.

Talk is cheap. The time for action is now.

The solution has been in front of us for several years. I have fought for property tax relief since I’ve been in Springfield. Earlier this year, the House approved a permanent property tax freeze bill (HB 6630). I was a Chief Co-Sponsor of the bill. That legislation received 76 votes in the House.

In the House, I have voted more than 20 times in recent years to permanently freeze property tax levies. The House has consistently supported property tax freeze legislation over the past two years.

We do not need to keep debating the issue and defining the problem. Property tax rates are hurting working families and our senior citizens. They need relief – it is really that simple.

We know from a CoreLogic report released last year that Illinois now has the highest property taxes in the country. We also know that Illinois lost nearly 115,000 people from July 2015 to July 2016, in large part due to escalating property taxes here in Illinois.

The longer we delay action on solving the high property tax issue in Illinois, the more people are going to leave. I hear all of the time from my constituents that they simply cannot afford to keep paying their out-of-control property taxes. The current course of action is not sustainable.

The Legislature cannot continue to ignore the negative impact of rising property taxes on our state. The time has come for both legislative chambers to send a property tax reduction bill to the governor and for him to sign it into law. We have debated the issues long enough. What taxpayers need is action, not more talk.

Illinois needs to lower property tax rates now!

• Rep. David McSweeney serves Illinois’ 52nd House District.

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Originally Posted: Northwest Herald

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Illinois Conservatives Endorse First Candidate of 2016

(Oregon, IL) Illinois Conservatives Endorse First Candidate of 2016

State Representative Avery Bourne has been a fresh and conservative voice in Springfield since being appointed in February 2015. A graduate of Pawnee High School she has been able to give a local voice of reason to the debate on how to fix Illinois. Bourne has been a strong voice for the agriculture and veteran communities. 

Avery Bourne is a strong conservative – strong supporter of the 2nd amendment and unashamedly pro-life. Avery, believes that government should get out of the way so small businesses can create jobs.

For more information you can also visit AveryBourne.com

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The Choice: Pat Quinn or Bruce Rauner

There are 3 candidates on the ballot for Governor; Pat Quinn, Bruce Rauner and Chad Grimm.  Many people are still undecided even with only a few days left until the election.  It is for this reason that Illinois Conservatives has decided to weigh in on the election to help in that decision process.

Let’s take a look at the candidates:

Pat Quinn

Quinn has been Governor now for 6 years, taking over the now jailed Rod Blagojevich. Below of some of the reasons Pat Quinn must not be re-elected.

  • Under multiple corruption probes
  • Real unemployment rate of 18.1%
  • Food stamp growth outpacing job growth 2 – 1
  • Raised personal income taxes by 67% and corporate taxes by 30%
  • Wants to make the temporary tax increase permanent
  • Wants to implement a progressive income tax
  • His fiscal policies have brought Illinois the lowest credit rating in the nation
  • Second highest property taxes in the nation, #1 in the Midwest
  • Highest percentage of people wanting to leave the state – 50%
  • Highest pension debt
  • Ranked 48 in taking care of the disabled
  • Lowest private sector job growth in Midwest
  • Lost 49,000 manufacturing jobs

Chad Grimm

Grimm has run for office twice before and lost.  He currently manages a gym in Peoria. Some of his positions are as follows:

  • Eliminate the Minimum Wage Completely
  • Legalize Heroin and Marijuana
  • Abolish Public Schools
  • Allowing Adults to Bring Assault Rifles into Schools
  • Has allied himself with anti-Rauner Quinn supporters
  • Has stated his goal is not to win but to get 5% of the vote

 

Grimm lacks a thorough knowledge of current Illinois policies.  An example was stating in an interview with WTAX the current tax rate is 7% when it is actually 5%.

 

Bruce Rauner

Rauner is a businessman who is a self-made multi-millionaire.  One of his investment jobs was handling millions of dollars from state run retirement systems. His acumen here produced more than double the average return.  He has released overviews of how he will govern with finances, educational priorities, and ethics.

Pat Quinn is an abject failure.  Chad Grimm has sold out any principles to Quinn’s Democrat allies and has no intention of running to win.  Neither Quinn nor Grimm can be trusted by conservatives with their progressive ties and allegiances.

That leaves only one choice for Illinois conservative voters, Bruce Rauner.  While we certainly do not agree on all of Rauner’s social issues, he is no doubt more closely aligned to conservative values than to the progressive policies and the appointments Quinn will make.

On fiscal issues, Rauner’s business expertise is greatly needed. Quinn’s policies have driven far too many business out of Illinois and we need a business minded governor that knows how to attract business and jobs to Illinois.  It is time Illinois focused on growing the private sector instead of growing government.

Illinois has a spending problem, not a revenue problem and we need someone who knows how to get spending and revenue in alignment. It is for these reasons that Illinois Conservatives recommends that conservatives vote for Bruce Rauner on Nov. 4.

Moline Firefighter Announces Candidacy for Illinois State Senate

Rock Island, IL – Surrounded by family and friends, Neil Anderson, a Moline firefighter, announced his candidacy to be the next State Senator for the 36th District.

“I am running for the State Senate because it’s time for new leadership, new energy and a new direction in Illinois,” said Neil Anderson. “I am not a politician, I am just a dad that wants to take the fight to Springfield and challenge the status quo.”

Anderson, a Republican, was joined at his announcement by his wife Brandi and their children, Steele and Sophia.

“I am not running to make a career out of elected office, I am running to make a difference for our families,” Anderson added. “On day one, I will refuse to accept the pension and healthcare perks offered to state legislators and I will work to enact term limits for state officeholders.”

Also joining Neil at his announcement was Sen. Christine Radogno, the IL Senate Minority Leader, Congressman Bobby Schilling, State Senator Darin LaHood, State Senator Tim Bivins and numerous local community and business leaders.

“Neil Anderson is exactly the kind of new leader this state needs to be successful again,” said Radogno. “Neil can genuinely relate to the challenges that families are facing in Illinois and will bring that perspective to the legislature.”

Congressman Schilling added, “I’ve known Neil for a long time. He is a leader that understands the value of service to others and I have no doubt that residents of the 36th district would be proud to call him Senator.”

The 36th District has been represented by Mike Jacobs since 2005. In that time, Illinois has been in a steady decline and currently owns the nations 2nd highest jobless rate, worst credit rating, record levels of debt & billions in unpaid bills. In 2011, Senator Jacobs supported the largest tax hike in Illinois history.

“Neil understands the devastating effect misguided policies are having on our state,” stated Sen. LaHood. “He is committed to rolling back the 2011 income tax hike and enacting meaningful tort reform, both of which will create jobs and grow the economy in Illinois.”

Making A Bachelor’s Degree Cost $10,000?

h/t Bruno Behrend for the article find.

College is expensive for students/parents & the taxpayers pure & simple. A recent article in the Washington Post discusses how to lower college costs & is based off of a report by the Third Way think-tank that highlights how a $10,000 Bachelor’s Degree would work through 6 reforms of the college system. I have some further suggestions myself & I encourage you to read the article as my comments under each proposal are reflective upon my take of what I read.

1. Reduce administration

This doesn’t mean instructors but the administrators of the college which according to the article accounts for roughly 70% of a college’s budget. One area specifically I agree with changing the academic adviser role to a professional based academic counselor. I learned pretty quick while in college that neither your major adviser nor the university’s academic advisers were of no help whatsoever. The major advisers were the worst pumping you with bad information about job prospects when you get out of school & prodding you to do additional coursework to “make yourself more marketable”.

2. Reduce perks

The author of the study cuts dorms, food service, sports program subsidies amongst others “perks”. The study suggests that if a student wants those perks that they should pay for it, not the taxpayer. Of course you pay already pay extra for living in a dorm & you pay for a meal plan for food service. However, what the real cost is for dorms/food service vs subsidized costs is beyond me. Sports & extracurricular activities would be extremely difficult to change given how much money is involved in those areas inside & outside of college. It’s almost like the military-industrial complex only it’s the sports-industrial complex.

3. Boost graduation

The study suggests that graduation have a self-paced component to it vs based more on how many years of classroom time a person sees. I can see this approach taking root as more classes are available online. Colleges already offer accelerated course work during the summer when they offer 6 or 8 week courses worth the exact same about of credit hours than if you sat in a class for 18 weeks.

4. Blended learning

Interesting concept of melding together technology & real-life interaction between instructor & between students. When I was in my education classes, our professors always wanted us to utilize technology as much as our classroom would allow. Interactive videos, presentations, etc. were to be integrated in nearly every lecture or lesson plan. Long gone were the days of popping in a video in lieu of actual teaching.

5. Fewer majors

The author of the study breaks down all majors into a few areas: “engineering, biology, education, computer science, English, communication, accounting and economics”.  A great line from the 1994 movie PCUThat’s the beauty of college these days, Tommy! You can major in Game Boy if you know how to bullshit.“. At some point, we’ve made fun of some major we considered absurd. However, there is some element of truth in our taunting of certain majors as in just because you are at college, it doesn’t mean that a college has to provide a major for what you want to study. Another way to put it is why should the taxpayers provide funding if you want to major in Underwater Basket Weaving?

6. Four levels of college

The author says there should be 4 levels of college with each college focused on a different style of student/studies ranging from adult to research to remediation. Interesting but I’m not sure that diversification of actual colleges are the answer compared to offering those same programs within the current structure is better.

I feel there are two additional reforms that could be implemented immediately that would lower the cost of a Bachelor’s Degree significantly.

7. No General Education requirements

Eliminate the re-teaching of college students. Taxpayers fund students’ education in high school & if the students haven’t learned Math, English or Science before they go to college then that is the fault of the high school and/or the students. We as taxpayers should not have to pay for our colleges to teach kids subject matter they should have already been taught before getting to college. Colleges call these Gen. Ed. requirements an attempt to create a “well-rounded individual”. In reality, our colleges are forcing students/taxpayers to pay for 1 1/2 to 2 years of classes BEFORE they get to take their major courses in years 3 & 4. Eliminating Gen. Ed. requirements would allow college students to graduate in about 2 years depending on their major & cut a huge portion of college costs in the process.

8. Allowing credits to transfer

There are several state colleges to choose from in Illinois. However, if I take a major level course like History of Latin America at Eastern Illinois University, that credit will not transfer to Western, Southern or any other state college. Most, not all Gen. Ed. courses will transfer though. Even Junior Colleges have credit transfer problems. I can’t take many, if any, major level courses at a Junior College & expect those credits to transfer & count towards my major at a state college. Credit transfers would also allow students to take summer courses at university closer to home & transfer those credits to the university where they attend full-time.

There is no doubt that higher education needs to be reformed. Tuition & fees continue to increase at colleges which in turn increases the costs to the taxpayer & students. Reforms don’t have to all be painful or spartan but reform must happen.

 

No Labels: Liberal Slant? (Part One)

Partisan bickering, grid lock and not much productivity. Everyone can agree for the most part that Washington D.C. is busier with internal conflict among political parties, special interests, and in the end the taxpayer literally pays the price. The group “No Labels” came into being three years ago working to bring the most powerful interest groups together to forge solutions to the nation’s problems 1.

 
It’s their slogan that essentially states exactly what they want, “Stop fighting, start fixing” 2. The group released two action plans to what they say is focused on breaking down the structural problems pushing our leaders apart, one is “Make Congress Work” and “Make the Presidency Work” 3. “No Labels” is led by honorary co-chairs Senator Joe Manchin (D) and Governor Jon Huntsman (R), and among the new projects they’ve worked on is a group called “the Problem Solvers Coalition” 4, composed of Democrats, Republicans, and one independent. Essentially this group publicly states that they strive towards solving problems through cooperative bipartisanship and compromise working across the aisle to arrive at better solutions for the nation’s major issues. However, further research into the group’s action plans and also who is involved in the group’s “Problem Solver’s Coalition” may suggest that there is a particular political ideology that is taking a more dominant hold overall. All of these parts will be investigated in due time, the first will be the “Problem Solvers Coalition”.

 
As mentioned before, the coalition is composed of Republicans, Democrats, and an Independent, showing that this is a bipartisan group. The actual numbers of members of Senators and Congressmen from each party are as follows: 42 Democrats, 38 Republicans, 1 Independent. Automatically, one will see that there are four more Democrats than the Republicans in the group, which will tend to sway on decision-making for various issues and policies. Whether four more Democrats joined the group very recently or four Republicans have jumped ship makes little difference, and it will need to be something that No Labels will need to work on correcting on bringing in a more balanced number of members from each party to retain the bipartisan composition in it’s Problem Solvers Coalition.

 
It’s one thing on how many members a group has from each party to determine how bipartisan it really is, it’s significantly quite another on how the members vote overall that ultimately decides where the Problem Solvers Coalition goes politically. Below is a list of the members of the Problems Solvers Coalition, divided up by parties and there are two rows of numbers.

Data

 

For the Republican side, they were graded on their overall lifetime scorecard by Freedom Works, the conservative organization. For the Democrats, they were graded on their overall lifetime scorecard by Progressivepunch.org, a progressive liberal organization. We decided to grade the members on their lifetime scorecards to get a better sense of how each member votes politically as opposed to just one year. The results were calculated adding the percentage points of each member in the political party and dividing them from the total number of members within the party in the coalition.

 
The overall scorecard according to Freedom Works for the listed Republicans in the coalition had an average of 63% conservative, and the overall scorecard according to Progressivepunch.org for the Democrats in the coalition had an average of 82% progressive liberal. That is a stunning 19 percentage point gap with Democrats in the group voting more progressive liberal than the Republicans voting conservative. This also plays into affect how coalition will vote overall in various legislation and issues more likely favoring the progressive liberal position than conservative.

 
It appears the Republicans that are in No Labels generally follow a more moderate political path versus the Democrats in the group that generally follow a more hard-leaning liberal route. This is not to say the Republicans in the group knowingly follow a group that leans towards a more liberal path, but information such as this researched and investigated should prompt Republicans within the coalition to question whether they feel as a Republican if their principles and ideas do have a place at the table in No Labels, or worse if the (R) label next to their name is something they feel has little to no value anymore.

 

1. http://www.nolabels.org/whoweare
2. http://www.nolabels.org/
3. http://www.nolabels.org/our-work
4. http://www.nolabels.org/problem-solvers

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Official Statement

In light of the recent email composed by Jim Allen regarding Erika Harold, the Illinois Conservatives would like to take this opportunity to rescind support of Allen, who is the Montgomery County GOP Chairman. Allen unnecessarily pointed a finger at Harold, calling her a “street walker” and referring to the Democratic party as her “pimps”. The Illinois Conservatives do not support the extraneous name calling, or comments which are racist and sexist. In light of this email, we would like for Allen to step down from his post as Montgomery County GOP Chairman.

 

Stefanie Nissen

Public Relations Director of the Illinois Conservatives