Bailey glad to see Ives step up to offer a solution to financial crisis
Darren Bailey sees a bit of himself in Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) courageously stepping forward to offer potential solutions to the state’s growing financial crisis.
“I’m glad to see someone step up and talk about solutions,” Bailey, running against Democrat Cynthia Given of Olney in the 109th House District, told the SE Illinois News. “It’s that kind of attitude I hope to bring to Springfield. We need leaders to be offering options to all these massive problems.”
Ives’ introduction of the Local Government Bankruptcy Neutral Evaluation Act is aimed at offering cities across the state the chance to dig themselves out from under financial ruin by authorizing “a local public entity to initiate a neutral evaluation process if that entity is unable to meet its financial obligations.”
House Bill 5644 comes on the heels of the city of Harvey having its tax revenues garnished due to growing pension liabilities. By Ives' estimation, at least 20 other cities find themselves in similar straits and could soon face the same fate without an immediate financial restructuring.
In every case, she adds, most of the distress has been caused by rising pension obligations. Harvey alone is reported to be tens of millions of dollars in debt in unfunded pension payments.
“I’m not sure if cities should be allowed to file bankruptcy,” Bailey added. "If local governments are being mismanaged and over-obligated themselves, something about the way they’re doing business has to change. Or, is it a case of having union obligations or regulations in place that handcuff leaders in trying to honor these pension systems. These are questions that need answers.”
In any event, Bailey said lawmakers must learn to work together to come up with needed solutions that work for the masses.
“(House Speaker Mike) Madigan (D-Chicago) and (Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B.) Pritzker’s answer is to dip a deeper hole,” he said of their proposal of a progressive tax. “I see solutions coming from the Republican side that are being ignored. Voters need to see that and realize just how serious all this really is.”
The 109th House District includes parts or all of Jasper, Effingham, Clay, Richland, Lawrence, Wabash, Wayne, Edwards and White counties.