Editor's note: The following was written by Nick Sauer, Barrington resident and candidate for Lake County Board, District 17.
Illinois needs to balance its books. The state is poorly managed and Springfield's politicians are solely responsible for the financial catastrophe that now exists. Spending at the State Capitol has gone unabridged for decades, shows no sign of slowing and served as the foundation for recent monumental tax increases and massive borrowing. Politicians cutting back on pet projects or reducing programs lobbied for by special interest groups are unlikely. The public's distaste for increased taxes or added borrowing is politically untenable as well. Our state lawmakers will soon be left with a very scary option, to shift their budget burdens on to our better managed and locally funded municipal, school and county run governments.
Many local levels of government are well run, manage their finances under the tax-cap, have low debt and provide services at a reasonable rate. My school district, for example, has had a balanced budget for many years and is one of only a handful of Illinois school systems with a AAA bond rating. Similarly, Lake County is an example of well run government. It is one of just 38 counties in the United States with a AAA bond rating and has reduced millions of dollars in spending during this recession while maintaining a balanced budget and providing services for constituents. Many municipalities, townships, library, park and fire districts can offer similar stories. When dollars stay close to home they are spent and monitored more effectively.
With Springfield's financial challenges increasing daily, We the People, need to demand that our state politicians not shift their financial burdens on to our communities, school systems and counties.
Leaders at the local and county level, civic groups and everyday citizens need to keep watch over Governor Quinn and the legislature. We must encourage them to follow the lead of local government by balancing their budget not shifting the burden.
Member of the Barrington 220 Board of Education
Candidate for the Lake County Board, Dist. 17