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April 2010
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Illinois Representative Jack Franks (D) to Legislature: Stop Spending!

The following was written by Jack Franks, a Democratic member of the Illinois House from Marengo.  I think he hits the nail on its head. Illinois legislators– and Governor Quinn– have to start making some tough decisions. If the state’s tax receipts are third highest in Illinois history, then why is Illinois $13 billion over budget?

Here’s his website:


On his website, Representative Franks says: “Since being elected State Representative, I’ve strived to be an independent voice in the legislature, fighting for the interests of McHenry County– not political parties or the special interests. I want to continue to build on the successes of the past by working together with everyone– regardless of party– to improve our quality of life.”We could use a few more Jack Franks out there. Good luck Representative Franks.

His words are as follows:

 Want to solve the budget crisis? Say no to spending


I sit in the Illinois House week after week, listening to debate, moving bills, and I think: We are out of control.

We have a $13 billion budget deficit, the worst in memory. We run the government by shooting from the hip: borrowing money and not paying our bills.

We are in trouble. And we won’t get out of trouble unless Gov. Pat Quinn and Illinois legislators have the courage to put a stop to the unchecked spending that got us where we are today. We have a disaster. It is man-made.

Why are we in such dire straits? Too much spending.

Illinois doesn’t have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem. State revenue this year is at the third-highest level in the history of Illinois. We have more money than we had in 2007.

We have a labyrinth of pork projects. We have more than 1,700 state programs. All those programs make it difficult to run the vital and necessary state services. All those programs cost billions of dollars. We need to take a step back and remember that government is not self-perpetuating.

Those who see an income tax increase as the only solution do not understand the problem. One out of eight Illinoisans is out of work. A tax increase would only lead us further down the wrong path. It’s not fair to blame the budget deficit on Quinn, but he has not made the situation better.

Instead of pushing for a tax increase, Quinn should stop the unnecessary spending.

Quinn could cut $1.2 billion worth of “member initiative” pork projects by executive order. He could push to collect more than $1 billion in taxes and fees owed to Illinois. He could push to scrap the lieutenant governor’s office, which would save us $16 million over four years.

Rather than play politics with education, Quinn needs to scour Illinois’ budget, assess every dollar spent and cut all but the most necessary expenditures.

We can do our part in the House and Senate. We can eliminate the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to save another $1 billion. We can combine the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority with the Illinois Department of Transportation and save millions. We can eliminate governor-appointed boards and commissions.

And we need to fundamentally change how we set the state budget each year.

We need forensic audits of all spending. Justify every dime and know where every dime is going.

We need a zero-based approach that requires all spending be justified. It is simply common sense. I have co-sponsored legislation that would require the General Assembly to adopt a full accrual-based accounting statement. Legislators would know exactly what our economic position is before they approved any budget. We can prevent this type of fiscal nightmare from recurring.

Illinois can pull itself out of this mess. We have to shrink the size of government through better accounting and restrained spending.

I urge Gov. Quinn and my fellow legislators to be innovative. To show leadership.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair once said, “The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.”

We have to say no.

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