From the office of Rep. Tom Cross, Ill GOP House Leader…
The second week of the General Assembly’s fall Veto Session is scheduled to get underway this coming Tuesday, November 8. Several high-profile issues are on the docket including the budget, reforms, and the need to spur private sector job growth and economic investment in communities throughout Illinois.
House Republicans have introduced a five-point blueprint to restore jobs and opportunity to Illinois and once again make our state a destination economy.
Our proposals, as outlined in House Bill 3811, take a broad-based approach to job creation in Illinois.
If signed into law, the House Republican Jobs Package would create tens of thousands of jobs in Illinois. For every percentage point drop in the unemployment rate, the state receives approximately $600 million in new revenue. Stay tuned next week as we work to advance our jobs and growth agenda.
Other items that could see action during Veto Session:
House GOP: Wage Freeze in Next Union Contract
Also this week, we proposed new language to strengthen House Joint Resolution 45, designed to cap wage increases associated with any and all collectively bargained contracts throughout State government, as negotiated between the Governor and public sector employee unions.
Governors Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn have tied the legislature’s hands in the past by making promises we could not afford with regard to public employee union wages and benefits. As the people’s elected representatives, we believe it is our responsibility to have some say in this process moving forward, as the current collective bargaining contract between the state and public employee unions expires in 2012.
The original resolution, unveiled last Tuesday by Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), did not set any parameters for the potential cap. This week, House Republicans put forward new language setting a specific framework to freeze wages and benefits at their current level until the state achieves two consecutive years of operating surpluses; a goal which serves everyone’s best interest long-term.
Our priority is on the protection of jobs and ensuring that we get our fiscal house in order above all else. We should not enter into any new contracts that guarantee wage and benefit increases at a time when the Governor is talking about closing seven state facilities that serve those with mental health needs, at-risk youth, and house dangerous criminals. HJR 45 is currently scheduled for a hearing in the House Revenue & Finance Committee on Monday.
House GOP Takes Action on Medicaid Reform
Also this week, House Republicans introduced a resolution, House Resolution 593, urging the federal Committee on Deficit Reduction, commonly known as the Super Committee, to grant individual states like Illinois the ability to implement cost-savings Medicaid reforms like those we passed into law earlier this year that have been blocked by the Obama Administration.
The General Assembly took bipartisan action in January to address the escalating costs of Illinois’ Medicaid program; enacting provisions to reduce anticipated Medicaid claims by hundreds of millions of dollars and to provide improved coordination of care for program enrollees. Included in these reforms were common-sense provisions to require applicants to submit one month of income verification and proof of Illinois residency; the two anti-fraud measures currently being blocked by the Obama Administration.
In addition to the resolution, all 54 House Republican members throughout Illinois signed a letter sent to the Super Committee this week urging immediate action on giving states the flexibility to set Medicaid guidelines based on individual factors currently present in each state. The Super Committee is slated to vote by November 23, 2011 on its debt reduction proposals.
In addition to Medicaid Reforms, we are continuing to push other issues as well, including reforming our pension systems and keeping our budget balanced.