DECATUR-- The narrative will be the same when the 98th General Assembly meets next week. Much like the 97th tried to do for nearly two years, the legislators will have their eyes set on pension reform, job growth, and educational funding. Whether they will be any more successful than their predecessors remains to be seen.
51st district Senator Chapin Rose says fixing Illinois’ economy comes down to two things, fixing pensions, and creating local jobs. “One of the things I am trying to do is promote regional job growth, but before we can get anything done we have to make Illinois an attractive state for employers to come to,” he said.
Rose said he also noticed the incredible lengths that people were driving just to get to work, saying he spoke with someone who drove 50 miles just to get to their job at ADM. He said the focus should be on making individual regions more resourceful, “What’s good for the rt. 51 corridor is good top to bottom for that corridor, what’s good on I-72 and I-74 is good along those routes.”
While admitting that the economy, pension reform, and fixing the state’s bond rating is the number one thing that should be on all lawmakers minds when they meet next week, State Representative Bill Mitchell said he also hopes to focus on educational funding.
“I’ve represented as many as 26 school districts and they all differ, some are wealthy, some are doing just okay, and some are poor,” he said.
Mitchell noted that he served for several terms on the educational committee, and through that has gotten to see many districts first hand, “When I go out and visit the schools, I get to see the quality firsthand, and hear the concerns first hand. One of the things I constantly get asked about is the unfunded mandates, I get that question a lot.”
Both the State Senate and the House of Representatives are scheduled to meet next week, the 5th, 6th, and 7th. Only time will tell if they will be successful in doing what the previous General Assembly only talked about.