Editorial: Dear legislators: Welcome back, now do your jobs

Editorial: Dear legislators: Welcome back, now do your jobs

By Herald & Review editorial board

Dear General Assembly members:

Welcome back from your spring break. We hope you are well rested, even though your schedule before the two-week break wasn’t that tough.

You probably won’t be surprised, but while you were gone the budget issue did not solve itself. It got worse.


Chicago State University has said it doesn’t have enough money to make payroll through month’s end. Other universities have laid off staff and made other cutbacks. We’re not against some cuts in higher education; those folks have overspent for years. But we suspect that smaller institutions are suffering for the over-spending at the bigger schools.

Social service agencies are also struggling and some have been forced to cut back or close.

More broadly, the lack of a state budget continues to hamper the state’s economy. Unemployment rates recently increased across the state. Some of that is due to more people seeking jobs, which is overall a good thing. But a lack of jobs is also an issue and some of that is attributable to uncertainty over the state budget.

In addition, there are many suppliers to the state that haven’t been paid in a long, long time. That makes it difficult for those companies to pay their bills, let alone consider expanding or taking on new employees.

Just like the creation of a new job has a ripple effect, the lack of a state budget is rippling throughout the state’s economy. You’re lack of action is having a negative impact on the state and the people you represent.

We’re hopeful, but doubtful, that you spent some time reflecting on your role in this mess during the last two weeks. We’re also hopeful, but even more doubtful, that some of you have considered a solution.

Everyone knows that the budget impasse will have to be solved with a mixture of spending reductions and revenue increases. Those actions won’t be easy, but they’ll be necessary. Taxpayers won’t like it, but they’ll have to accept that fact.


The sticking point, as we all know, is Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s “turnaround agenda.” Frankly, two of the issues are no-brainers. You should allow there to be votes on Constitutional amendments on term limits and redrawing the state’s political maps. Defending the status quo? You’ve got to be kidding.

But the state also needs some sort on workers’ compensation reform and local governmental units need more flexibility in dealing with unions. While you’re at it, also make it easier for local governmental units to consolidate or be eliminated. We’re convinced that the path to saving taxpayers real money is by reducing the overall size of government in Illinois.

Mostly, however, we urge you to do your jobs and legislate. Most of you are simply too happy letting House Speaker Michael Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton and Rauner play politics with our state’s economy.

In simple terms, you’ve had your vacation. Now, do your job.


Illinois taxpayers


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