CARY – About 50 people came to a town hall meeting Wednesday in Cary to voice their concerns and hear what state Sen. Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods, had to say about the ongoing state budget impasse, among other topics.
“A lot of my neighbors and friends and relatives are worried about the national agenda and what’s going on in Washington,” Cary resident Karen Clemens said after the meeting. “And I feel Springfield and our state is a much bigger mess than there.”
Clemens, a retired teacher, said her main concerns include how her pension will be funded, how schools will be funded, how roadwork will be funded and how residents will be able to afford to stay in Illinois with high property taxes.
“I would like a plan. … And we don’t seem to have one,” Clemens said. “And that freaks me out probably the most of all.”
For the third straight year, the Democratic-controlled General Assembly and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner have been unable to come to an agreement on a full-year state budget.
McConchie has said he will not sign off on a budget plan that he said started with massive tax increases and then cut some as an afterthought. He, along with Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, developed a proposed balanced Illinois budget that wouldn’t raise taxes.
The latest deadline to pass a state budget expired at midnight May 31 with the end of the spring legislative session, which means that any budget plan will require a three-fifths House and Senate supermajority vote to pass until January. The possibility exists that a deal could be reached before the July 1 start of fiscal 2018.
At the town hall, McConchie explained the budget impasse, and compared the high taxes, lack of growth in manufacturing jobs and high workers’ compensation costs with neighboring states. He also touched on the need to stop gerrymandering, and for school districts to have better incentives to consolidate.
When asked what the tipping point would be for a budget to be passed, McConchie said the possibility of schools not being able to open this fall.
“I paint a very dire picture, and part of the reason why I don’t have lots of sunshine and roses to get to you is because of the autocratic nature of the way the state is organized. [Democratic House Speaker Michael] Madigan holds all the cards, and no one quite knows what Madigan is going to do,” McConchie said.
Cary resident John Maxwell said he was inspired by McConchie’s campaign and leadership.
“I think he’s very serious about financial reform in the state,” Maxwell said. “And he’s got ideas – and right now, Springfield has a dearth of ideas, so I came out to show support for him.”
A full video recording of the meeting can be found on the village of Cary’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8vXZXBhisc.