State Rep. Mike Tryon has sent the following to those on his mailing list:
The General Assembly has adjourned for the summer, and while the State’s financial situation continues to deteriorate, I am happy to report that I was able to accomplish many of my legislative goals for 2009-10.
With regard to the budget, the leaders in Springfield still refuse to change the way Illinois appropriates money. In homes across Illinois, family budgets are being managed by people who are making difficult family decisions in order to balance the money coming in against the money going out. As unpleasant as it is, people are adjusting their home budgets to current economic conditions. They are living within their means.
Unfortunately, the ruling party in Springfield refuses to do the same.
Since 2000, Illinois’ annual spending has grown by more than 20 percent while the economy has grown by only 12 percent. Illinois’ debt has grown by more than 57 percent over the same period. Spread out over the population of Illinois, it could be said that every man, woman and child in the state now owes the state’s creditors $4,125.
During this legislative session, I sponsored House Bill 5212, the Truth in Accounting Act. If approved, this act would have imposed a highly stringent set of accounting standards to the Illinois state budgeting process.
Simply put, it would prohibit the General Assembly from passing appropriation bills until it adopts a joint resolution reflecting for that fiscal year the state’s estimated income, balance sheet, cash flow, and surplus or deficit.
What this would do is put everyone involved in the budgeting process on the same page by offering a real look at the fiscal condition of the state annually. It would allow the legislature to focus on long-term, responsible budgeting instead of the ineffective, piecemeal approach that the legislature currently takes. Unfortunately, this bill was never called for a vote.
In spite of the many financial challenges that face our State, many of my legislative initiatives were approved during this session and are now on their way to becoming law. Below are just a few of the many bills that I sponsored that were approved:
HB 35: The Accountability Portal
By approving this bill, Illinois has taken a huge leap forward toward transparency in government. The bill, which addresses the “pay-to-play” culture which has become all too prevalent in Illinois, increases transparency in government by establishing a website that residents can visit and easily look up all state contracts and government expenditures including employee salaries and tax credits given to businesses. The information is available on line through a searchable and user-friendly database. You can visit the accountability portal at http://accountability.illinois.gov/.
HB 5214: Military-Veterans Court Act
This public act, which will be signed into law by the governor on Friday, June 11, creates a veterans court and helps service men and women who have been properly diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Through this public act, veterans can be adjudicated in a special court for non-violent offenses and offered a therapeutic sentence rather than a criminal sentence for their non-violent offenses.
HB 170: Private Sewage/Surface Discharge
This new law protects public health by improving surface water quality. The law puts in place a permit system that controls waste water discharge by residential property owners. Through this act, by 2013 Illinois will be in compliance with the federal Clean Water Act.
HB 1142: Modular Housing Buyer Protection
In response to a request by a constituent, this new law provides modular home buyers a process by which they can appeal or arbitrate the installation of sub-standard quality modular homes.
Recently I led a delegation of federal and local officials to meet with the state’s railroad director in support of a Huntley Amtrak station along the Chicago-to-Dubuque Amtrak route that is currently under development. Joined by officials from Huntley and Congressman Don Manzullo’s office, I made a compelling case for why a Huntley stop would improve the viability of the entire route and ensure its success for years to come.
We were told that the Huntley proposal offered “quite a bit of potential,” and officials from the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Division of Public & Intermodal Transportation were very impressed with Huntley’s offer to solely fund construction of a train station in Huntley. If approved, Huntley and other area residents will be able to enjoy this new Amtrak service as soon as 2012.
I will continue working very hard this summer and am in the process of filing several new bills that will be considered when the General Assembly reconvenes.
Today approximately 70 percent of the people who are utilizing the All-Kids Insurance Program are undocumented (can not provide proof of U.S. citizenship), and 43 percent showed no proof of age at the time of enrollment. The new language would, among other things, require applicants to provide proof of age, proof of identity and proof of residency. Since only documented citizens of a certain age qualify for federal reimbursement dollars, Illinois must at the very least maximize its federal reimbursement opportunity by requiring those who utilize All-Kids to show proof of birth when they apply for benefits.
As always, I am available to meet with my constituents about issues that are important to the people of the 64th District. Please do not hesitate to call my Crystal Lake legislative office at (815) 459-6453 if you would like to set up an appointment to speak with me about state issues. My legislative assistant Tina would be more than happy to assist you.
It is an honor and a privilege to serve you in Springfield.