Our state legislators could learn a lesson from the O’Fallon City Council.
This past Monday the City Council approved their 2016-17 budget with a quick, unanimous vote. After the meeting I spoke with Alderman Mike Bennett, who chairs the Finance Committee, and he said the process went very smoothly, all of the questions posed were answered, and everyone was able to take part in the process.
Meanwhile it has been nearly two years since a budget has been passed in Springfield. Just today the Illinois Comptroller stated that the legislators will (finally!) stop receiving paychecks due to the budget stalemate. Both the Governor and the Speaker of the House have dug in their heels and its becoming more and more obvious that there will not be any sort of a budget until after the November elections, at the earliest.
Due to their inability to work together to see the problems facing our state, our state government has brought immeasurable pain and suffering down onto constituencies too poor and weak to hire expensive lobbyists in Springfield to fight for their behalf. Seniors, children, the poor, and the sick are suffering while Rome burns.
So I have to commend the O’Fallon City Council on achieving something the state legislature is evidently incapable of doing. They have studied the needs of their community, looked at the revenue they have available, spent what they needed to, and even found a way to address a special project (the Presidential Streets Stormwater repairs).
Maybe Mike Bennett and the rest of the Finance Committee should go up to Springfield one day soon and teach the legislature how to craft a budget. Someone sure needs to…