• Column 8-19-16

    Is Illinois growing or shrinking?  Are more people coming into the state, or are more people leaving the state?  At present, the numbers don’t look good for Illinois.  The 2015 census estimate for Illinois calculates that the state saw a 0.2% population growth over the past five years.  That growth is more than seven times slower than Wisconsin’s, ten times slower than Indiana’s, and twelve times slower than Iowa’s population growth over the same period.


    In 2014, Illinois lost a net population of nearly 95,000 people in net state to state migration. That’s like losing all of Freeport and half of Rockford in one year.  This is a crisis that only serves to worsen the budget situation.  Many...

  • Column 8-11-16

    The Olympics are here!  I don’t know about you but I can’t seem to get enough of the games. Admittedly, I don’t get to watch as many of the events as I would like, but I did have a chance to see Michael Phelps dominate the competition Tuesday night.  Something about the medal ceremony just sends a chill down my spine and a sense of pride in country through my veins.


    What is it exactly that makes the Olympics so great?  Is it the fact that seemingly everyone across the world is watching the same exact thing you are with the same level of anticipation?  Is it the stories of overcoming personal struggles to achieve Olympic gold?  Or maybe it’s the athletes like...

  • Column 7-29-16


    Have you turned on your TV in the past couple of weeks and tried to avoid anything political? Well good luck, because it seems this time of year even ESPN is reporting from the Republican and Democrat conventions.  Tis the season I suppose, and if you’re one of those political junkies, you’re glued to Fox News or CNN.


    So of course the national political scene is in the spotlight right now, but let’s not forget about what is happening locally.  Would you believe me if I told you that your vote for a city council or county board member will probably have more impact on your daily life than your vote for President of the United States?  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the top of the ticket is not important (far from it, in...

  • Column 7-8-16

    It is with heavy heart that I write this column today. In Dallas on Thursday, there was another senseless tragedy. For me, and other law enforcement officers (both active and retired), this one struck close to home. Divisiveness and anti-police propaganda has finally run its natural course. Putting on the police uniform every day has never been an easy job, but now – with so many united against them – our nation’s public servants are in more danger than ever. I humbly urge all of us to calm the rhetoric, disassociate ourselves from those whose only intention is to divide us, and to work together for the common good of our country.

    Column 6-24-16

    For the third consecutive week the House Speaker has cancelled session. Time is running out. The end of the fiscal year is fast approaching. After session adjourned in May, the Speaker agreed to hold session once a week in the month of June. Every session has been canceled so far. If we do not pass anything this month, there will be complete chaos and it is becoming clear that the Speaker is fine with that.

    State services will screech to a halt if no action is taken in Springfield. The House Democrats say there’s nothing to vote-on. Nothing to vote on! There’s plenty to vote on. Last week, I discussed the stopgap budget bills. They are simple, non-controversial solutions that would keep operations running for seniors, schools, mental health facilities, prisons and capital projects. Additionally, the legislature needs to authorize the federal funds so that the state can spend them....
  • Column 6-17-16

    There are less than two weeks left of the current fiscal year and again the legislature’s day in Springfield was cancelled by Speaker Madigan. We are told that the Working Groups are making progress, but in reality, the State of Illinois cannot wait any longer. If we do not agree to a financial plan in the next week, our state will enter its second year without a budget.

    It is unacceptable that the two parties have not been able to reach a compromise over the past 24 months. What is even more unacceptable is that it appears the Speaker intends to do nothing before the November election. Seniors, students, schools, mental health facilities, healthcare facilities and our prisons desperately need state assistance. Without a budget, our schools will not open this fall. Our mental health facilities will close their doors. Healthcare facilities will lay off workers. Our prisons will...

  • Column 6-10-16

    Today I would like to tell you what we had achieved in the Capitol over the past week, but unfortunately Speaker Madigan cancelled our day to meet. It is disheartening, disappointing, and flat out sad that he cancelled the General Assembly’s opportunity to continue discussing the issues that face this state. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin introduced two bills that we should have voted on this week.

    The first will ensure schools remain open this fall. Every school district in the state relies on General State Aid. In the past, schools were shortchanged by the legislature. They only received a fraction of what the State of Illinois had promised them. Then, the government used those funds to pay other bills. Today, House Bill 6583 would fully fund the General State Aid formula for the first time in seven years.

    The second, House Bill 6585 is a budget bridge and capital bill...

  • Column 6-3-2016

    Spring session ended on Tuesday, and with it ends any chance of a balanced budget in the foreseeable future.  This week, the Governor and Republicans offered concessions, but Speaker Madigan refused to allow any discussion of a compromise.


    We made several attempts, and one of my colleagues went as far as to stand on the House floor and ask everyone who was willing to work on a budget to stand up.  Everyone on the Republican side rose, but Democrats (For fear of reprisal) mostly remained seated.  To me, that sums up the entirety of the Spring Session.  We tried to get things done, but it became abundantly clear that House leadership had no interest in passing a budget.


    On the last day of session, not one of our budget solutions was called to a vote.  Instead, the other...

  • Column 5-27-2016

    Are you satisfied with Illinois Government? Well you could pay 47% more for it. Wednesday night, the House Democrats launched a surprise attack on taxpayers, throwing a 500 page budget for a vote, giving us one hour to prepare for it. The Speaker of the House waived parliamentary procedure and pushed SB 2048 to a vote.


    For the first time in Illinois history, the state would spend $40 billion dollars in General Revenue Fund spending even though our state is expected to bring in $33 billion dollars in revenue. That is $7 billion more than what we expect to generate in revenue. It is unconscionable to double our debt next year. The taxpayers did not cause this problem. The legislature caused this problem and the legislature can solve it if only they choose to pass necessary reforms.


    Column 5-20-2016

    This week the General Assembly discussed many items, some of those were decriminalization of marijuana, new licensing for gun dealers, reducing sales taxes on feminine hygiene products and pay raises the state can’t afford.  The problem is that we don’t have a budget, but instead of having the tough conversation about solutions, we talked about pay raises for some segments of the State’s workers.   Now I certainly appreciate the hard work our state workers provide and I support them.  However, the pay raise legislation that passed this week will cost an additional 3 billion dollars we simply don’t have.  It leaves me asking myself, where will this $3 billion come from?  We are not the Federal Government.  We cannot print our own currency.  It’s not growing on trees…  It’s going to come out of your pocket.


    The state can manage its money better and our Governor is doing the...

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