State Senator Pam Althoff and State Representative Mike Tryon held a Town Hall meeting at the Crystal Lake City Hall Tuesday night. Yesterday McHenry County Blog ran Part 1.
Tryon advocated a radical overhaul of Medicaid, pointing out to qualify one only had to provide one pay stub.
To lose Medicaid, one has to send a letter asking to get off the welfare rolls.
Tryon called for eligibility and fraud audits.
He said Democrats had expanded Medicaid “beyond any other state.”
“You don’t have to provide proof of birth and the Federal government won’t reimburse, if there is no proof of citizenship.”
He claimed to be able to find in the range of $5-6 billion a year in savings with the reforms he was advancing.
“Short-term, how do you balance the budget?” was a question from the audience.
Tryon advocated cutting about 10%, but not across the board. Besides the Medicaid savings he outline before, the Crystal Lake State Representative advocated merging departments.
He also seemed to advocate challenging the state employee union contract that prohibits laying off any AFSCME union members until the middle of 2012, two and a half years after he hopes Republican Bill Brady will become governor.
Tryon pointed out that US Steel decided to build plants in Alabama and Illinois. The Alabama plant was finished before the Illinois plant had obtained the necessary permit from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. 90 days for a permit in Alabama versus 2½ years in Illinois.
Tryon said the answer was to allow private engineering firms to issue the permits at whatever it cost the prospective factory owner. That was as an alternative to the snail-like turnaround time at the EPA.
“You turn the business climate around,” Althoff added. “Get somebody who gets that the business climate is important.”
A bill that got through the Senate, but which Tryon helped stall in the Illinois House concerned requiring Prevailing Wages to be paid for all work done in Tax Increment Financing Districts.
The bill was not referring to just public infrastructure work as he read it. If condos were constructed by a private company, then union level wages wold have to be paid.
People buying such condos would also have to pay the Prevailing Wage rate to remodel their properties, to hang their drapes, as Tryon pointed out.
“It stifles competition.”
Althoff gave Tryon credit for his insight and efforts to stall the union-backed bill.
“It’s good to have two chambers because sometimes people in one chamber are oblivious.”
She also touted her legislation to require Fiscal Notes on every bill.
These now can be requested by any legislator, but often no request is made, so those voting on such bills have no idea how much it might cost.
She also pointed out how public ridicule can influence a governor like Pat Quinn.
Quinn proposed appointed a “Canoe Czar,” according to the State Senator. He would be paid $168,000 a year to chart canoe routes throughout Illinois.
Negative publicity killed the idea.
A man with a paint striping business revealed he had to hire a new person just to provide the Prevailing Wage paper work to local governments. Previously, he only had to provide it to state government.
He wondered how many government employees had to be hired to file it.
Pensions were discussed in detail, including closing down the current system and starting another one that would look more like those in private enterprise enjoy.
Tryon explained that if the systems were shut down, no new money would be flowing into it from current employees. That would mean the taxpayers would be stuck with the billions in unfunded liability.
Althoff pointed out that some systems are using 1984 mortality tables.
“We recognize we have made some significant missteps.
“I think the results of this November election will send a very strong message of what taxpayers expect,” she said.