Adults Exercise Restraint

Published April 10, 2007

Dear Editor:

John McCarron wants an adult to offer a “tax compromise” for Illinois [“Wanted: Adult with a tax compromise,” April 9.]

How about an adult to offer spending restraint? In the past 10 years Illinois state spending has ballooned from $38 billion to a proposed budget of more than $60 billion this year. Yet McCarron makes no mention of spending as a cause of the state’s fiscal problems.

We have a state government rife with rigged contracts and no-bid contracts for political insiders; in which we already or soon hope to subsidize a raft of needs and wants including prescription drugs, preschool, books for newborns, home mortgages, and health insurance; and in which the governor boasts his new education funding proposal would be triple the next-highest increase in state history.

Why not have state programs for the purchase of shoes and socks, cars and trucks, homes and home repairs, vacation getaways, and restaurant dinners?

Keeping the roads in good repair and the courts functioning, issuing fishing licenses and driver’s licenses may not be glamorous, but they are the kinds of things state government should be doing.

McCarron says we need a tax package “that meets our obligations to our kids and to our future.” Thirty-eight billion dollars didn’t do that? Sixty billion dollars won’t? How much will? McCarron doesn’t say.

Until the state starts setting spending priorities and stops creating new programs that make citizens more dependent on government, no amount of money from any combination of taxes will be enough.

Steve Stanek ([email protected]) is a research fellow for The Heartland Institute.