To the Editor: The Illinois General Assembly started its new session, and for the next two years there will be little done to improve Illinois.
The first priority of the new General Assembly is pension reform, but the Illinois Democratic Party is beholden to the Illinois public-sector unions. Any pension changes will be contested by the union membership, the retired and especially those state employees close to retirement. Also, the legislators and judges could be effected by any pension adjustments. Expect no meaningful pension reforms.
Currently, there are discussions about limiting access to weapons and ammunition for residents in Illinois. Reviewing past elections, any legislator that opposed the NRA or other gun advocate groups generally lost his or her next election. Weapons can be purchased legally in any state – how can Illinois impose any restrictions on those purchases? Illinois does not have the resources to enforce any change in the Second Amendment.
Illinois is financially broke. Credit services have been downgrading Illinois’ bond rating. Expansion of gambling will become the savior for Illinois debt. Expect more casinos, including Chicago, and slot machines at the race tracks. Chicago will not have to pay the franchise fee that other casinos have had to – or will pay – because Chicago will claim that any profit will benefit the schools. There is a point of diminishing returns on gambling revenue, and Illinois is placing its survival on the people who can least afford to gamble.
Thanks to the November election, the Democrats have a supermajority and veto proof control of both the Illinois Senate and House. This means that the GOP and Gov. Quinn have no power to challenge any legislation that the Democratic leaders in Springfield want to approve. The only changes in Illinois will be more income taxes, sales taxes, fees and debt.SFlb