Op-Ed: “Make no mistake- there will be sacrifices if we want the games to end”

It is, indeed, entirely unacceptable that Illinois is poised to enter a third year with no State Budget in place.  We need a balanced budget right now!  We cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good.  We also cannot let the bad pass as good just to drop a mission accomplished banner and pat ourselves on the back.

Without a real balanced and austere solution, we will soon begin to see irreversible damage done to our schools, institutions of higher education, social service providers and the businesses and vendors that provide goods and services to our State.  What we cannot do, though, is repeat the mistakes of the past.  Passing an unbalanced budget only causes further damage to a state that is already fiscally insolvent.

However, if we recognize in a bipartisan way that our State is at the brink of disaster, we can begin to address the problem in a meaningful way.  The Senate’s tax increase proposal does little to address the systemic problems that got us here.  The notion that we can dig out without a combination of some new revenue and some reforms is simply naive.  We need a coordinated effort in June by members of both parties to work together and turn this situation around.  We cannot allow the State to go into the new fiscal year beginning July 1st without a compromise, balanced budget in place.

A lot can happen in a small amount of time in Springfield if we truly work on this problem together, recognizing each others’ priorities.  It’s going to take hard work and a very real commitment by both sides to do so.  So let me be clear- I continue to be committed to putting aside my ideology in recognition of these challenges, but we must avoid “magical thinking” if we hope to dig our way out.  Anyone who tells you this can be fixed without sacrifices is lying to you.  Make no mistake- there will be sacrifices if we want the games to end.  There will have to be resolve to break the bad habits that got us to this tragic condition.  Stop the games, stop the politics and let’s work together to get this done.

Rep. Norine Hammond

State Representative, 93rd District