The Democratic majority thrives in the current corrupt status-quo that they have created over the past four decades. They actively freeze out real reform bills and treat the taxpayers of Illinois as their personal piggy banks, choosing to protect a well-connected chosen few over doing what is best for all of the people in the State of Illinois.
The start of the New Year brought Speaker Madigan’s close ally, Mike McClain, into the forefront yet again after troubling emails were unearthed detailing a state worker concealing a “Champaign rape” and bragging about a “ghost payroll” scheme. Not even two weeks later, now former, and convicted Senator Martin Sandoval, pled guilty in federal court on bribery charges and faces significant prison time for taking bribes from a red light camera company and underreporting his income by more than $100,000.
Next week, former Rep. Luis Arroyo will attend his federal arraignment on charges that he bribed a sitting State Senator to pass legislation to legalize sweepstakes gambling machines in Illinois–a company that Arroyo was a paid lobbyist for while simultaneously serving in the Illinois House. I have filed three bills aimed at rooting out the rampant corruption occurring under the Statehouse dome.
House Bills 3956, 3957, and 3958 would disallow lawmakers from working as property tax appeals attorneys while in office and restrict retired lawmakers and their spouse and immediate family from interacting with the General Assembly as a lobbyist for a period of five years. I am shocked that we even have to legislate this process in the first place, but welcome to Mike Madigan’s Illinois!
This year, I am continuing my crusade for taxpayers to find a real solution to the out of control pension disaster. I have been working diligently for four years to pass common sense fiscal reforms to reign in the out of control pension hemorrhage. My plan through House Bills 3859 and 3860 outline a three-step process for pension reform. The first step is to start with a constitutional amendment to the pension system, and immediately cap pensions for all current and retired employees at $132k per year maximum, which is the same rate as Social Security. Then we would raise the retirement age up 1 year and tie the automatic 3% COLA to the CPI.
These solutions will allow us to finally get a handle on our pension crisis and will provide common sense reforms for a system that was flawed from its inception. I implore my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to come together on these bills and take action now for the people of this great state!
I am proud to be working on concrete solutions to help aid Illinois taxpayers through transparent and common sense reforms. Our flawed pension system is unsustainable and continues to worsen every day, which is completely unacceptable!
Aside from ethics and pension reforms, another legislative priority I have is finding relief for taxpayers from our out of control, 2nd highest in the nation, property tax system.
Speaker Madigan has stifled reform and property tax relief ideas for decades. The Speaker is himself a powerful property tax attorney. His law firm assists wealthy property owners appeal their high property tax bills. I have consistently called for a hard 1% cap across the board on residential property taxes, but my bill has never been allowed out of Madigan’s House Rules committee. I am hoping this is the year we can work together and doing something real for Illinoisans and pass the 1% hard cap.
For me, a successful 2020 legislative session means significant ethics reform, property tax relief for families and seniors, and significant pension reforms. The future of the State of Illinois is at stake. Let’s get to work!