Illinois Policy Institute highlights votes of Reps. Black, Biggins and Miller on misguided budget policy.
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois will likely be stuck with another unbalanced budget this year, thanks in large part to two retiring Republican legislators and a Democratic candidate for comptroller, the Illinois Policy Institute announced today.
“The lack of leadership from elected officials in our state reared its ugly head again this week,” said John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute. “And three representatives in particular sent a disturbing message that business as usual in Springfield is alive and well.”
Rep. Bill Black (R-Danville) and Rep. Bob Biggins (R-Elmhurst) joined Rep. David Miller (D-Lynwood) in voting for a $3.7 billion borrowing plan to make the state’s long-neglected annual pension payment. Instead of putting the pension contribution at the front of the payment line—where it belongs after years of neglect—and then allocating remaining resources to various programs, this plan takes the burden off the General Assembly and places it squarely on the backs of beleaguered Illinois taxpayers. This irresponsible borrowing package was such a bad idea that leaders had to bring it up for a vote twice in order to pass it.
Black, from Danville, is deputy Republican leader and has served since 1986. Biggins, from Elmhurst, has served in the House since 1993 and is his party's top voice on two key budget committees. Miller, from Lynwood, is an assistant majority leader to House Speaker Michael Madigan who has served since 2001. All three are not returning to the House next year—Black and Biggins are retiring, and Miller is running for comptroller.
“It would be helpful for Rep. Miller to better explain his motivation, or perhaps the tradeoffs he made, for quickly changing his vote on borrowing billions of dollars while he runs for state comptroller – a top steward for fiscal responsibility in state government.” Tillman said. “As for Biggins and Black, maybe it is easier to stick the next generation with a bigger bill when you’re retiring from office, or perhaps seeking another state job, and won’t have to deal with the consequences next year.”
“Unfortunately, taxpayers continue to pay the salaries of elected officials who choose punting the hard decisions until next year instead of rolling up their sleeves to do the job they were elected to do,” Tillman added.
In the spirit of government transparency and accountability, the Institute urges the public to watch for job offers yet to come for Reps. Biggins and Black and campaign contributions yet to be received by Rep. Miller.