A local State Representative is re-filing a charter containing potential reforms to the state’s budget process.
Jacksonville-based State Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer is re-filing his “Taxpayer’s Fiscal Charter” this year. The Taxpayer’s Fiscal Charter looks to provide power to Illinois’ taxpayers, limit lawmakers’ ability to establish new entitlement programs without efficient funding, and aims to solidify the state’s pension system for the future.
Davidsmeyer explains what the Taxpayer’s Fiscal Charter contains, and what it hopes to achieve.
“The goal of the Taxpayer’s Fiscal Charter is to find common ground between the two parties, and I think there’s one that thing we all can agree on throughout the state and that’s that the state is broke right now. We don’t have enough money to cover what we’re trying to do, so we have to start simple. Step one, a two-year guaranteed freeze on all discretionary spending, and that will be followed by a continued freeze until we’re within a 30-day payment cycle for all of our bills. So until we’re within that 30-day payment cycle, there will continue to be a freeze,” says Davidsmeyer.
Davidsmeyer goes on to explain some of the other aspects of the charter.
“After that, no new programs, no new expansions until we make a full pension payment, which we’re required to by law and by court order now. Simple ideas like Pay As You Go, if you have a new idea, a new initiative, you have to figure out how to pay for it, you have to show where the revenue is going to come from or where the cuts are going to happen to pay for that idea. We all know that in government it all trickles down: the federal government requires the state to do things without paying for it, the state requires local governments to do things without paying for it. So no unfunded mandates, we shouldn’t be forcing things down upon other units of government,” Davidsmeyer explains.
Another aspect of the legislation requires the General Assembly to post its proposed new fiscal year budget online for 72 hours prior to passing it. Davidsmeyer says that while he filed the same piece of legislation last year, the bill never received much attention. He says that it’s rather common for unfunded programs to be proposed by state lawmakers, and that this bill looks to end that.
“Every week, there’s a new program or an expansion of a program that costs the state extra money, and we all know that we don’t have the money now to pay for what we’ve got now. So this will just get rid of those new ideas and those new expansions until the state is fiscally responsible enough to handle it,” says Davidsmeyer.
Davidsmeyer says he hopes fellow lawmakers in Springfield realize how bad the budget situation has gotten in Illinois and take this first, small step towards trying to fix it.