By Rick Banas of BMA Management, Ltd.
Here are four questions. We are giving you the questions in advance so you have the chance to prepare. Talk about what can be done.
I was invited to attend the Legislative Breakfast on Monday because of BMA’s connection with Batavia, Illinois, through our Heritage Woods of Batavia affordable assisted living community. The community opened in 2003 and has grown to become our largest affordable assisted living community.
A big thank you to Physical Therapy Advantage, PC, for sponsoring the Legislative Breakfast.
Today’s Blog will focus on the first question asked.
What do you see as the best solution to the State government’s fiscal crisis? How should revenue be increased, or costs reduced, to close the budget gap?
Senator Lauzen attributed the budget crisis to being the result out-of-control spending, corruption and disincentives to employ people. He also mentioned a pension system that is bankrupt, with liabilities that exceed assets, income that is insufficient to pay it back, and benefits for public employees that are excessive when compared to the private sector.
The solutions he proposed are as follows:
- Apply pension reform to existing as well as new employees.
- Move Medicaid eligibility back to the national average.
- Prune bureaucracy seriously.
- Get folks back to work.
- Only after cutting spending, pursue tax reform and modernization.
Rep. Schmitz noted that “you can’t spend what you don’t have” and keep pushing problems off until next year. The average debt load per person in Illinois for just what the state owes is $8,250.
Citing his experience as a fire fighter and emergency medical technician since 1984, Rep. Schmitz said the first priority has to be to stop the bleeding. “It’s the first thing we do on a call.”
His recommendations were as follows:
- Conduct a forensic audit on each and every program to look for ways to cut the expenditures.
- Implement a PayGo system that requires Representative and Senators to tie how they are going to pay for a new or expanded program to legislation designed to approve or expand the program.
- Go back to the older days of setting aside at least three days for budget hearings.
- Send the Governor a line-item appropriation rather than a lump-sum appropriation.
As a former newspaper reporter and someone who follows politics closely, I found the Chamber’s approach refreshing. The ideas were presented without any name calling or harsh political rhetoric.
I welcome your thoughts about the approach as well as the ideas that were presented by Senator Lauzen and Rep. Schmitz.
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let us know.
“BMA Management is the leading provider of affordable assisted living in Illinois
and one of the 20 largest providers of assisted living in the United States.”
Tags: Affordable Assisted Living Community, Batavia Chamber of Commerce, Batavia Illinois, Breakfast, Heritage Woods of Batavia, Legislative Breakfast, Physical Therapy Advantage, Rick Banas, State Representative Timothy Schmitz, State Senator Chris Lauzen, The BMA Blog