Local Commentaries
2:27 pm
Thu March 25, 2010

Bill Jacobs - March 26

Macomb, IL – This week I went along on the annual Macomb Day in Springfield sponsored by the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce & Downtown Development Corporation. We heard mostly about the crisis of the state's finances and the inability of anyone there to get anything done about it.

When I returned to Macomb, I learned about the closure of our State Police district headquarters, "regrettable cuts" in Macomb's schools, and the possibility of the Fire Department charging for its services. This crisis affects every resident of McDonough County.

While in Springfield we heard that the best solution to these problems is to increase jobs and put more people back to work in Illinois. A simple truth. However, I didn't hear much about how that was to happen.

I believe economic development is all about employers having the ability to find all the resources they need within their location. It is often said that our greatest resource is our children. If that is so, what is happening to the resources that we need to educate and train our children for our future? They are being slashed and are being held hostage by a tug of war among the Governor, the House & Senate Republican Caucus, and the Democratic Speaker of the House.

Recently, the superintendent of a regional school district was heard to say - after announcing layoffs and cuts within his district - that the leaders in our state "don't have the guts" to handle this crisis. Although we were not able to hear from Senator John Sullivan while in Springfield, he is on the record as stating that a tax increase is a necessary part of any plan that also includes cost cutting measures. We need more leaders like him who have "the guts" to talk like that.

So what is the General Assembly's plan? They intend to pass some watered-down budget, adjourn early on May 7th, get out of town, and do nothing else about the crisis until after the elections this fall. Are they more concerned about keeping their jobs than they are about putting a plan together to provide for our most important resource - our children?

I urge you to contact our elected officials, Senator John Sullivan and Representative Rich Myers to share your thoughts on this crisis:

senjohns@macomb.com

repmyers@macomb.com