The state of Illinois’ fiscal problems are well-documented.
For years, the governor and the General Assembly allowed spending to get out of control, stealing from legacy funds to pay for inflated programs elsewhere in the budget.
The result has been record deficits, increasingly late payments to service providers for work already completed, pension funds that are underfunded by more than $83 billion, and the second worst credit rating of all 50 U.S. states.
In short, Illinois is a fiscal mess. Our elected officials in Springfield largely are to blame.
To turn things around, state government needs two things: 1. Fiscal hawks who will be accountable to taxpayers. 2. New blood, particularly in top leadership positions.
Republican David McSweeney is running for election to Illinois’ 52nd State Representative District. The seat currently is held by Kent Gaffney, who lost to McSweeney in the Republican primary. Gaffney was appointed to the position after the death in June 2011 of longtime state Rep. Mark Beaubien.
There’s no doubt McSweeney will be a fiscal hawk. An investment banker by profession and strong fiscal conservative, McSweeney supports immediate repeal of the personal and business income tax increases that a lame-duck General Assembly rammed through in early 2011.
He favors pension reform that would eliminate pensions for legislators, reduce cost-of-living adjustments for other state retirees, and, going forward, convert employees into 401(k) plans similar to those in the private sector.
McSweeney also understands that the state can’t address all of its fiscal issues if it does not have leadership change at the top. For 28 of the past 30 years, Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan has reigned over Springfield like a spoiled dictator. His leadership has been a complete failure, and combined with weak governors is largely the reason Illinois is in the dire straits it is in.
McSweeney will vote to oust Madigan from the speakership.
McSweeney’s opponent, Dee Beaubien, is the widow of the late Rep. Mark Beaubien. She did not run in the primary, getting her name on the ballot afterward as an independent.
She says she is a fiscal conservative, but she has accepted financial and campaign help from Madigan. This will make her beholden to him if she is elected. In an interview with the Northwest Herald’s Editorial Board, she would not commit to not voting for Madigan for speaker.
Voters in the 52nd District have a clear choice. That choice should be McSweeney.