April 22, 2010
Speaker Michael Madigan, Where Did the Money Go?
Breitbart’s Big Government
by Adam Andrzejewski
“As Speaker, I want every citizen of Illinois to know this is a people’s Legislature — we are here to serve the public, openly, honestly and with the highest standards. I am accountable only to you”, says Speaker Madigan’s own website.
Chicago Democrats have run Illinois into the ground. Since Rod Blagojevich became governor in 2003, Illinois state government has spent roughly $500 billion dollars (yes nearly half a trillion). Yet, we are:
48th in job growth
36th in education
Leading the nation in youth violent crime
3rd in the nation in gambling revenue.
Last year, over 700 manufacturing companies left Illinois. Over the last ten years, 750,000 people left the state, many of them high income earners.
Illinois does not quantify even basic financial information- such as the number of state programs. In October, 2007, the Illinois Auditor General issued a report saying that, “Illinois does not have a comprehensive, consistent list of state programs”. Lacking basic data has led to a lack of legal spending control. For example, the Illinois constitution requires a balanced budget, yet we face a $13 billion budget deficit. For all we know, much of the money could have been stolen, as we are deficient in even fundamental fraud controls. Last summer, the Auditor reported that “the state has a material deficiency” of fraud control on “all federal awards”. The scope of this statement covered $17 billion in spending! Where did the money go?
The Illinois state budget is frankly a slush fund that at best can be described as a shell game of political power, control and patronage. In 2009, the Illinois Tollway Authority mis-accounted for $150 million in revenues. In 2007, the Chicago Dan Ryan road construction project came in on time, but over budget by $375 million. When simply asked to produce a list of paid contractors, the Better Government Association was told that the list did not exist. Since 2005, Illinois spent $1.3 million on a security firm to guard the Third Airport at Peotone. The Peotone site isn’t built yet, it’s still a cornfield!
Teachers and state troopers are being laid off, yet state government retains 100 P.R. spokespersons. The state flies a fleet of 16 luxury aircraft at $3,000 an hour, spending tens of millions per year and is running daily shuttle service between the state capital and Chicago. Just last week, a new unit of state government was created- the Office of New Americans- complete with an executive director and three new managers all making hefty salaries, and amassing perks and taxpayer guaranteed pensions. Meanwhile, Illinois is approaching insolvency, with $5 billion in unpaid bills. Where did the money go?
During my gubernatorial primary race, I vigorously advocated a forensic audit of all state spending during the Blagojevich/Quinn administrations. Such an audit would rebuild the shattered trust of people in their government by sweeping the books clean after the corruption of Rod Blagojevich and the incompetency of Pat Quinn. A forensic audit is a tool to expose the hundreds of areas where Illinois can cut spending, save the taxpayers billions of dollars, and avoid an unnecessary tax increase.
Speaker Michael Madigan, Open the Books! On April 24, 2010, House Republican Leader Tom Cross and 26 House members co-sponsored the forensic audit in the Illinois House (HR1057). Showing political courage to stand for reform and stand up to the powerful Illinois speaker, these Republicans are demanding an audit of every dime of state spending. Madigan opposes the audit, saying, in effect, that spending a few million to cut a few billion, “will cost too much”.
As House Speaker for over twenty years, Madigan is perhaps the one man most responsible for the financial chaos confronting Illinois. Presiding with a near iron grip over his caucus, Madigan has approved the budgets causing $120 billion of long term debt and $80 billion of pension debt, while leading to a whooping $13 billion current budget deficit. Speaker Madigan, You Cost Too Much! Where did the money go?
PLEASE CALL- Speaker Michael Madigan’s office, ask him to call HR1057 for a vote:
District Office- 6500 South Pulaski Road, Chicago
(773) 581-8000 (773) 581-9414 (fax)
Capitol Office- 300 State House, Springfield
Learn more and sign our online petition at www.openthebooks.com a project of For the Good of Illinois.
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