The Morrison Memo: August 19, 2016

As kids go back to school and families settle into their fall routines, I wanted to provide an update on issues that affect the 54th District and the citizens of Illinois. Lawmakers have spent the last few months in their home districts tending to the needs of their local constituents, and I have spent a great deal of time meeting with residents to discuss their concerns and suggestions for how we can improve this great state. I always enjoy these meetings because they really do help guide my representation of this area in Springfield.

Senator Matt Murphy to Step Down in September
For my entire tenure in the Illinois General Assembly it has been an honor to work alongside Senate Deputy Republican Leader Matt Murphy on issues that affect this region of Illinois. As the Senator of Illinois’ 27th Senate District, Matt Murphy has represented this area with distinction for the last ten years. When I was elected in 2010, he was a great mentor, and since that time we have worked collaboratively on many legislative initiatives. Senator Murphy serves as the ranking Republican on the Senate Executive Committee, the Appropriations I Committee and the Executive Appointments Committee. He is also a respected voice on several other key Senate Committees. 

Whoever is selected to fill Senator Murphy’s seat certainly has big shoes to fill. His resignation will be effective September 15, and local Republican Party officials will choose his successor. That individual will hold the seat for two full years, until the election cycle in 2018.

Look for the Morrison-Murphy Booth at Palatine’s Streetfest
The Village of Palatine is putting the finishing touches on this year’s Streetfest event, which will be held in the heart of the downtown area from August 26-28. The epicenter of this annual event is the intersection of Brockway and Slade Streets, and local families are invited to enjoy the live music, great food and kids activities that have become a staple of this community festival. Streetfest gets underway on Friday the 26th at 5:00 PM with activities running constant until midnight. Saturday hours will be 11:00 AM until midnight, and the festival concludes on Sunday with hours from 11:00 AM until 6:00 PM. The Kids Zone will offer all kinds of fun activities for children between the hours of 11:00 AM and 6:00 PM on Saturday and 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM on Sunday.

As we have done in the past, Senator Matt Murphy and I will be sharing an informational booth at Streetfest, so please stop by and say hello. For more information about this annual community event, click here.

Stopgap Budget Measure Sets Stage for Huge Tax Hike
As I reported earlier this year, when the House and Senate approved the FY17 K-12 spending plan and six-month stopgap package for other essential services, I was one of four “no” votes in the House of Representatives. At the time I expressed my fear that the approved package, if extended over 12 months, would be far from balanced and would necessitate a huge tax increase. As we gain a complete understanding of the magnitude of that vote, I stand by my “no” vote more than ever. I came to Springfield to fight for the overburdened taxpayers of this state, and with the approval of the stopgap measure, those who voted for it set a plan in motion that will require the citizens of Illinois to pay higher taxes next year.

According to the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, a non-partisan and respected source for financial data, if extended over 12 months, the stopgap measure spends $8 billion more than what the state is expected to bring in. With no reforms written into the measure, it was business as usual with the majority party continuing with their tiresome tax-and-spend philosophy.

Sadly, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle were strong-armed into supporting the measure due to threats that schools would not open on time this fall, and that social service providers for our most vulnerable populations would collapse and close their doors. Within hours of the signing of the stopgap measures, Moody’s downgraded the credit ratings of most of the state’s public universities because of state government’s failure to enact a balanced budget. The analysts at Moody’s recognized that the stopgap did not restore any measure of financial health to the state, and they alerted bond investors of the continuing downward spiral of Illinois’ finances.

The financial crisis in this state will only be remedied when more lawmakers take bold steps to insist upon balanced spending and an end to unsustainable pensions. I have been a long-time advocate of moving all future employees to more of a 401(k) type of benefit plan, and I will continue to file legislation to make this change a reality. I will also continue to fight for reforms that promote business growth and an improved economy, and that will eliminate the waste, fraud and abuses that plague our government systems.