State Senator Jason Barickman and State Representatives Josh Harms and Dan Brady
By Todd Wineburner
State Senator Jason Barickman says Governor Pat Quinn needs to come down from his bully pulpit, and lead the state by personally moving meaningful legislation through state government. After the address, Barickman said he agrees with the governor's call for pension reform, but he adds that without a specific plan, the governor's strident calls for reform are just empty rhetoric. On issues concerning Livingston County specifically, Barickman said he's frustrated by the fact that the Quinn administration is still intent on closing Dwight Correctional Center--ostensibly to save the state money. Barickman says the governor's budget proposal, however, calls for more spending in the Department of Corrections, meaning no savings in spite of the closure.
106th Legislative District State Representative Josh Harms of Watseka was equally puzzled by some aspects of the address. Harms says the administration's revenue projections are too optimistic, and he'd prefer more restraint in these early stages. Harms says if more revenue is realized, the money can be applied to the state's backlog of unpaid bills. Harms was also concerned about the call for more spending on public transit, while at the same time taking money away from transportation funding for schools.
105th Legislative District State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington described the budget address as short--short in duration and short on specifics. Brady, like others, agreed with the governor's emphasis on pension reform, but he says lawmakers aren't lining up behind any particular piece of legislation because most of the bills proposed don't cover all five of the state's pension systems. Brady says he's convinced that more could be done if comprehensive legislation was presented. Brady says a speech is one thing, but now the proposals move into appropriations committees where the real budget will be crafted.