When Congressman Robert C. McClory spoke to his Tri-County Republican Women’s Club, I sometimes accompaied my mother.
McClory would invariably report on the inner workings of the U.S. House of Representatives, which I enjoyed emmensely.
That was what State Rep. Allen Skillicorn’s talk last night at Algonquin’s Colonial Cafe reminded me of.
Skillicorn explained his role in fighting taxes during the session.
When a Senate bill is passed and is read into the House record, any member may register as its sponsor.
Skillicorn grabbed as manytax hike bills as he could.
When asked why he was doing so, he would reply that he did not intend to call them.
Senate Democrats were so disturbed that Skillilcorn was warned by a House Democratic Party leader that he would probably never get a bill through the Senate.
He has a strategy to overcome that obstacle, however.
‘He finds a Democrat to be a bill’s chief sponsor.
Reminds me of something Ronald Reagan said:
“There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.”
“I’m fine with not [seeing] my legislation move in the Senate,” Skillicorn said.
“I’m happy to [give up sponsorship to a Democrat].”
“I try to get along with Democrats,” the second-term legislator said.
He talked about his successful campaign against what he labeled as a “Rain Tax.”
Pushed by the Illinois Municipal League, it would have allowed cities and villages to levy a tax, supposedly for drainage purposes, but which, in reality, could be used for any purpose.
The campaign, which included a YouTube video, took off.
Over a half a million people looked at it.
He got phone calls from all over the country seeking interviews.
“The sponsor of the bill was so angry,” but Skillicorn reminded him, “I never used your name.”
With the Municipal League behind the bill, Skillicorn “had to fight to get all the Republicans to vote ‘No’ in committee.
After March 15th, “The Governor’s agenda took over,” he lamented.
Moving onto the budget, Skillicorn pointed out that regardless of what anyone said it was not balanced.
For at least the last decade, he explained, the General Assembly had not passed a revenue estimate.
He estimated that the budget was $2 ½ to $3 billion out of balance.
Such a revenue estimate resolution, mandated by the State Constitution, puts a limit on how much money can be spent.
This year there was a ten percent increase in the spending, but not a ten percent increase in General Fund revenue.
Most of the new taxes are earmarked for capital projects.
To help justify the increased spending, the Democrats scheduled the Downtown Chicago Thompson to be sold…for the fourth time.
So, for four years, its sale price has been counted on to pay for increased spending.
This year, he estimated 96% of the windfall from the Trump tax cut was scheduled to be spent on new programs.
Speaking of the pension problem Democrats refuse to address, Skillicorn pointed out that when pension funds are only 30-40% funded, “it’s just money coming in, money going out” to make current pension payments.
Long-term investments are not possible.
He said he was about to introduce the rest of a pension package.
Discussing the marijuana bill, for which he voted, Skillicorn explained that 25% of the proceeds would be going to “cronies, thugs and political projects.”
He lobbyed the Governor to earmark 5% for pensions.
When 5% was rejected, he asked for 2%.
“Just throw something to pensions.”
No luck in either request.
Skillicorn did managed to use a threat of withholding some of the Republican votes to kill an outrageous proposal to identify the Operating Engineers Local 150 sham “Conservative Party” a major party in thirty-two counties, based on its receiving over 5% of the gubernatorial vote in 2018.
Threatening to withhold such votes convinced the Democrats to scuttle the Local 150 idea.
“I have a great relationship with Kelly Cassidy [the marijuana bill sponsor,” Skillicorn revealed.
He told of a property tax hike bill to finance law enforcement in DuPage County that his GOP Leader Jim Durkin called without having previously informed caucus members.
He said “three of us in our ‘No’ row” voted against it.”
Speaking briefly of a possible cogressional race in the 14th District, Skillicorn predicted only three have a chance.
Besides himself, he pointed to the two State Senators, Jim Oberweis and Sue Rezen of Grudy County, an hour drive away,
Rezin filed papers announcing her candidacy today.