Bill Albrecht: Rebuttal to Jacobs Chamber Address

From the Albracht for Senate campaign…


It’s true, riding a horse looks easy enough until you’re actually on one. This can be said about many things on many levels, but for now, we’ll focus on business.

While addressing the Legislative Forum sponsored by the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce on 20 January, 2012, which I was in attendance, Senator Jacobs has once again looked at the facts and came to the wrong conclusion. Here are some of the things he said:

  • “It’s time for business to take risks.”* (He means every business except the energy business. He deferred that risk to the taxpayers via the Smart Grid.)
  • “We in government have done everything in our power to jump-start this economy.”*
  • And my personal favorite, “We’ve spent every dime we didn’t even have to get this economy moving.”* (*Quote source: Dispatch-Argus, 21 January, 2012, by E. Timmons).

Mr. Jacobs admits government can do relatively little to help the economy, but it can do a lot to hurt private businesses, our citizens and the state economy; here are some examples of Mr. Jacobs’s handiwork:

  • Raising business taxes 46%, driving businesses and jobs out of Illinois.
  • Ignoring the massive ongoing state pension problem created by the state legislature.
  • Failing to pay private business for products and services on a timely basis.
  • Failing to take real, positive steps to address the state’s unsustainable debt burden.
  • Not addressing the Workman’s Compensation problem with meaningful reform legislation.
  • Failing to balance the state budget by getting spending under control.

Mr. Jacobs and his confederates claim they balanced the budget, but all they did is borrow more money and push bill paying off to next year. That is not balancing the budget, that is what is called a “shell game” – trying to hide the pea by shuffling the shells. And yet, with this litany of problems that have not been addressed, somehow it’s the fault of business for not stepping up and putting more skin in the game.

Mr. Jacobs pointed to the new WIU campus on River Drive as an example of exactly where he wanted money “risked”. He stated there were open areas that needed business such as restaurants, book stores, housing – but wait, that will be provided by Mr. Jacobs and his development nearby the WIU campus. A development in which he, a seated senator, is a business partner. A development in which he will directly benefit from any and all “risk” taken by business people who pony up and take his “risk” challenge. A development no elected public official should be involved in! It is a conflict of interest of the highest order for a politician to be a business partner in a project over which government has political influence. If Jacobs put up zero dollars, exactly what is he providing for his slice of the pie? What “risk” is he taking (other than an ethics investigation)? Zero dollars equals zero risk, but it does add up to inappropriate and unethical behavior. This is exactly the type of crony capitalism that has gotten Illinois in so much finical trouble.

All of our state’s woes do affect business. When the state spends “every dime they didn’t have”, who pays the ultimate freight on that? That would be us – the taxpayers. It is insulting to business owners to treat them as if they haven’t already taken risk upon risk. While the senator spends your money, a business owner spends their own. If the state falls behind and is slow to pay, there is very little the vendor can do. But if the business owner falls behind and can’t pay, the doors close and the lights go out. I spent several years in private industry (Ford Motor Company) prior to moving back to the QCA. I know how business works; I understand the risks that a business takes every day. To tell a group of Quad City business people to step up and take risks while benefiting personally from a nearby development shows how little the senator understands about business, but how much he does know about the workings of Illinois politics.

It seems that what Mr. Jacobs does understand is that it is only wrong if you get caught. In referring to the now infamous Smart Grid legislation and the leadership role he played in achieving his lobbyist father’s agenda, he told those gathered that the good citizens of the IL Quad Cities will not see a rate increase. Apparently, and this is reading between the lines, in cutting the “deal” to ram through the energy companies’ legislation, the IL QCA was excluded from any rate increase. I’m not making this up! According to Mr. Jacob’s own words, the Chicago metro area will pay the freight for our increased utility bills. Really? So a dirty deal is OK if we are the beneficiaries? Makes you wonder what other deals have been cut where we were on the short end. It’s called by different names in Chicago, including “business as usual”, but here we call it corruption.

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