PALATINE…. More than 100 suburban Cook County residents attended a Town Hall meeting at the Palatine Village Hall on Thursday night hosted by Senator Tom Rooney (R-Rolling Meadows) and State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine).
The two Republican lawmakers gave a 30-minute presentation outlining Illinois’ biggest challenges, and then opened the floor for a 60-minute question and answer session. “The turnout exceeded our expectations,” said Morrison. “Senator Rooney and I were both pleased to see such a large amount of community engagement as we discussed our state’s most pressing issues.”
According to Morrison, attendees brought bipartisan points of view to the discussion, which at times crossed between state and federal concerns. “People had really detailed questions on a myriad of issues, but one key takeaway for me was the overall level of frustration and disappointment by constituents who want state lawmakers to pass a balanced budget,” Morrison said. “One of the main difficulties is that constituents enjoy and expect a certain level of services from their state and local government based on the significant taxes they already pay today, when most are not grasping the simple truth that the level of taxes collected at present does not cover current costs. Each month, the state’s deficit grows substantially larger. In short, current levels of spending (for K-12 education, higher education, social services, public safety, transportation, etc.) cannot be maintained through current tax rates. The question becomes, how do we decrease spending on services and/or programs to avoid steadily increasing taxes? Another way to accomplish this without simply cutting current services involves streamlining government by encouraging consolidation and collaboration, by providing relief on unfunded mandates, and by passing reforms that the private sector wants that would also benefit the public sector. ”