‘Taxpayer Bargain:’ Leadership, fiscal responsibility and accountability
April 24, 2017
Springfield, IL. – There is a lot of talk about a balanced budget for Illinois, but only one plan – the ‘Taxpayer Bargain’ – does it without tax increases, according to State Sen. Kyle McCarter.
“Tough choices lie ahead for legislators and the Governor, but Illinois is in a tough situation. The ‘Taxpayer Bargain’ is the medicine for a very sick state,” said McCarter (R-Lebanon).
Since unveiling the ‘Taxpayer Bargain’ April 4, Sens McCarter and Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods) have been working to promote the plan that makes taxpayers the priority.
“We are preparing 24 separate pieces of legislation that make up the budget plan,” said McCarter. “The proposal is not merely a wish list of hopes, or detailed grievances contained in a press release. Rather, the plan is a real, practical way to make government more affordable and accountable to the taxpayer.”
Sen. McCarter said 24 bills that make up the ‘Taxpayer Bargain’ will be filed when session resumes the week of April 24. 13 of the proposals are already pending, but the 54th District Senator said that legislation would be amended to remove any connection to the new and higher taxes contained in previously-announced budget plans.
Here are the legislative measures to be filed:
#1 Public Pension Reform that starts with legislative pensions before state employees. Ends pensions for all new legislators.
#2 Reconsideration of President John Cullerton’s Cost and Consideration plan, minus its connection to tax increases included in the “Grand Bargain” budget.
#3 Moving new state employees to a modern, 401k-style pension plan like that of many people in the private-sector economy. This keeps promises to current retirees and employees, and protects taxpayers going forward by reducing pension debt.
#4 Unfunded mandate relief for K-12 schools, which lowers operating costs and pressure on local property taxes. It also includes a provision encouraging and incentivizing school consolidation and contains authority to reduce employee costs tied to pensions and salaries.
#5 K-12 public pension cost shift to local schools phased in over 5 years. Transfers education funding from local property taxes to state government as required by the Illinois Constitution. $200 million in savings annually, $1 billion after 5 years. 25% of the savings would go back to the schools when state revenues top the spending cap contained in the “Taxpayer Bargain” budget plan.
#6 Higher-Ed public pension cost shift from the state to the universities. Savings are estimated at $400 million annually.
#7 In exchange for taking on the pensions of their own employees, the institutions would receive state mandate relief and changes to rules regarding the purchasing of goods and services to offset costs.
#8 Refinancing current Illinois pension bonds, with the estimated interest savings of $800 million going to pay off old bills.
#9 Reducing the Local Government Distributive Fund (state tax dollars to local governments) by about 4% of their total budget. In exchange, communities would receive financial relief from unfunded state mandates that directly put pressure on local property tax rates.
#10 Township consolidation as included in Sen. Tom Cullerton’s pending legislation, minus the connection to new and/or higher taxes included in the “Grand Bargain.” I would also like to see a provision added giving local taxpayers the opportunity to push for consolidation through a citizen-initiated referendum.
#11 Constitutional Amendment allowing Home Rule governance for smaller communities with a population of 5,000 or less.
#12 Changes to Prevailing Wage regulations that drive up the cost of local public construction projects that taxpayers must bear. It would also increase prospects for smaller companies to bid on and perform work, creating new job opportunities.
#13 (House Bill 737) Giving local government employers more flexibility in concluding contracts with union employees through arbitration, which could lower employment costs and ease the burden on local taxpayers.
“There are naysayers who reject the ‘Taxpayer Bargain’ out-right. That’s because it is a plan that rejects ‘business as usual,’ which is the philosophy that gave Illinoisans the worst fiscal crisis in its history,” said McCarter. “The doubters reject it without reading it, without learning about it, and without studying it or even asking questions.
McCarter said the ‘Taxpayer Bargain’ was created with input from both Republican and Democrat legislators, and it includes pending legislation sponsored by members of both parties.
“The ‘Taxpayer Bargain’ is actually a compromise plan between political differences, but it does not compromise or sellout common sense principles like Illinois government must live within its means just like Illinois families and businesses,” said McCarter. The ‘Taxpayer Bargain’ is real. It requires new thinking. The tax and spend policies that have guided Illinois for decades are a proven failure. It’s time we incorporate policies and practices that work for family budgets as well as the most successful companies in the world: Real leadership, fiscal responsibility and accountability.
Details of the ‘Taxpayer Bargain’ are available on the Taxpayer Bargain website at www.taxpayerbargain.com.