The McDermed Dispatch for May 22nd

Last week in Springfield produced little from the House. I’ve spoken out in the past on the floor about how we have a tendency to shirk our toughest priorities or leave them until the last minute to the detriment of taxpayers. May 31st is just days away, we cannot afford to waste any more time. You can listen to a recent speech I made here.

Bill Backlog Grows, Revenue Estimate Needed

          The state’s unpaid bill backlog has now topped $14 billion. In addition we’re paying more than $800 million in interest on these bills. Every day without a budget, the State pays out $17 million more than we take in.
           Both the Constitution and state law require the General Assembly to adopt a revenue estimate on which to base a balanced budget for the forthcoming fiscal year, an action which legislators have failed to take in either of the past two years and haven’t yet done for the coming fiscal year. I joined Representative Keith Wheeler and others in signing a letter to Attorney General Lisa Madigan asking her to intervene and force legislators to comply with this requirement.
          A revenue estimate is a vital part of the state budget process. We can’t get our finances under control if we don’t know how much we have to spend.

Senate Grand Bargain Heats Up Again

            With the scheduled end of session inching closer every day, there is renewed hope in the Senate’s ability to produce a grand bargain that is palatable to both Democrats and Republicans. Of course once that is accomplished and a deal sealed, the plan will come over to the House where it will face an even greater test, Speaker Madigan.
             Elements of the plan are still taking shape and both parties are jockeying back and forth on the remaining issues. I am a little wary that the “let’s just get this over with” mentality has started to sink in. That any deal is better than no deal. I will not vote for any plan that does not balance the budget and use reforms to protect taxpayers. Once the plan is sent over to the House, I will give you a breakdown of the different parts, both good and bad, here in the Dispatch.

Auditor General
          Illinois’ Auditor General, Frank Mautino, is still refusing to answer questions relating to his questionable campaign spending records. Mautino is under investigation for funds spent by his campaign account during his time as a State Representative. Last week the Illinois Board of Elections voted to fine Mautino’s former legislative campaign $5,000 for failing to provide information during their probe. I was one of only 10 representatives to vote against Mautino’s appointment to Auditor General in 2015 and I am also sponsoring HJR 9 to remove him from office because our state’s top financial watchdog shouldn’t be under financial investigation himself. The Chicago Tribune recently wrote an editorial calling on Speaker Madigan to stop protecting his former Assistant House Leader and bring the issue to a vote.
Senior Driving Seminar  
            Next month I will be offering a free Senior Driving Seminar in collaboration with the Illinois Secretary of State. The seminar is taught by an instructor from the Secretary of State’s Office and includes an extensive overview of the contents of the Rules of the Road booklet and a sample test. The two hour class will give senior citizens an opportunity to refresh their memory for the written driving test when renewing their licenses. Additional requirements and measures are put in place for senior drivers when renewing their licenses and I invite any and all in the district to this helpful seminar. The seminar is on Tuesday, June 6th at 10am at the New Lenox Police Department, 200 Veterans Pkwy in New Lenox. It is two hours long. If you have any questions or would like to attend, please RSVP by calling my office at (815) 277-2079.
Women’s Self Defense Class 
            Back by popular demand, I am again offering a women’s self defense seminar with One Light Self Defense. If you weren’t able to attend last year, sign up with my office today:

Will Co Freight Plan Seeks Public Input
          If you could not attend one of the Open Houses on the Will Co Freight Plan, you can take their survey here