Wilcox: State has a serious spending problem
State Sen. Craig Wilcox (R-McHenry) says in light of a recent report that Illinois state and local governments waste $100 million annually, lawmakers need to refocus spending on issues that bring tangible improvements.
“The simple truth is that the state of Illinois does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem,” Wilcox told the McHenry Times in an interview. “A serious spending problem.”
To back up his assertion, Wilcox said that despite receiving revenue of $32.4 billion last year, the Office of Management and Budget showed a shortfall of $5.7 billion.
Wilcox, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, is running for the District 32 state Senate seat to which GOP leaders appointed him in October. His opponent is Democrat Mary Mahady.
Government overspending captured attention after the Illinois Policy Institute published a recent report detailing approximately $100 million in what it calls waste, about a third of which are pork projects lacking wide appeal. One of line items was $2 million in annual lobbying fees paid by local governments.
“I find it outrageous that these cash-strapped municipalities have to spend so much money on lobbyists, especially when it is clear that their efforts are not leading to any improvements in local tax burdens,” Wilcox said. “Perhaps if municipalities were not giving tax dollars away to lobbyists, they would have more resources to run their local governments more efficiently.
Wilcox said core services, like education, healthcare and infrastructure, should always receive priority over pork projects. Unfortunately, he said lawmakers often favor pet projects to win elections.
“Illinois has developed disastrous precedents of wasteful and pork-barrel spending that detracts from the goal of passing a balanced budget and servicing the growing debt,” he explained. “We must get back to getting the fundamentals right before the state gets too far ahead of itself, where we can no longer cover the costs of the core functions of government.”
To right the ship of state, Wilcox recommends change at the most basic levels in Springfield.
“Illinois needs to embrace a culture change, top to bottom, if we are to turn the state around and begin seeing families and businesses stay and invest in Illinois, rather than flee and count their losses,” he warned.
Wilcox will face Mahady on Nov. 6. The 32nd District state Senate seat represents the cities of Crystal Lake, Harvard, Marengo, McHenry and Woodstock.