Kippy Breeden: State lawmakers should follow lead of county government, respect tax dollars
Kippy Breeden wishes lawmakers in Springfield ran the state more like she and her colleagues on the Henry County District 1 Board pride themselves on doing.
“We strive to live within our means in all our budgetary decisions,” she told Rock Island Today. “We respect that this is the hard-earned money of the people of this district that we’re dealing with.”
A new Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) report suggests that lawmakers in Springfield hardly harbor such concerns.
Even as some lawmakers push for additional tax increases, researchers found that the Illinois government is squandering up to $100 million in wasteful spending, which includes $13.1 million for an arts council chaired by the wife of Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan and pork projects that include $10 million to rehabilitate Chicago’s privately owned Uptown Theatre.
IPI points out the spending comes at a time when state taxpayers are saddled with the second-highest property tax rates in the country and forced to pay one of the highest combined tax burdens among states.
In each of the last four years, Illinois has suffered a population dip and a recent Center for State Policy and Leadership at the University of Illinois Springfield and NPR Illinois survey found more than half of residents would rather call someplace else home.
“Down here, we passed a public safety tax where everyone passing through pays a little something,” said Breeden, running for re-election on the board in next month’s general election. “My point is you can’t keep trying to do everything on the backs of the same people. It has to be a little fairer than that.”
At the heart of Illinois’ wasteful ways are structural problems that include lifetime healthcare guarantees for state workers and an unsustainable pension benefits system, IPI states.
Breeden argues all the mayhem leads back to Madigan.
“I don’t feel he represents all the people or sees the big picture in terms of what’s best for the state,” she said. “Definitely, I would like to see someone different in that position.”