Who says we can’t cut spending in Illinois?

Government spending history keeps repeating itself because those who get elected think they’re there only to serve the interest groups clamoring for access to ever more tax dollars.

It’s a problem at all levels of government. The personality type that typically runs for and wins public office is highly sensitive to the desires of those scheduling meetings with them in their legislative offices and those who write PAC checks.
The hard working taxpayers who have to pay the bill never get around to scheduling those kind of meetings with legislators. And they see no value in supporting candidates that almost without fail work against their interests (by allowing taxes to increase and government to grow).
It manifested nationally during the 1980s when revenues to the federal treasury were doubled and yet Congress still spent more than came in.
It manifested again after Newt Gingrich retired as Speaker and Congressional Republicans joined a Republican President in a spending orgy that has yet to stop.
Here in Illinois – when record revenues were pouring into the state coffers during the late 1990s through the year 2000 – Republican governors and a Republican state senate joined Democrats in a spending spree that set up Governor Blagojevich for the predicament he still finds himself in: trying to cope with insatiable interest groups and a fear of raising sales or income taxes.
Our question from yesterday regarding education funding is our question regarding over-all spending today: who says it can’t be cut?
The answer is obvious. Interest groups say so and the legislators who do their bidding say so.  What’s the proof they offer? None. We’re just supposed to take them at their word.
Two quotes:

“But many legislators agree, at least privately, that we need a revenue infusion to stanch the hemorrhaging. They understand the deficit cannot be conquered strictly on the spending side of the ledger without bludgeoning education, health care, public safety and, yes, pension programs–all of which account for more than 95 percent of general-fund spending. In fact, bipartisan majorities likely would have supported tax boosts if the governor had yielded.”

            — former Edgar advisor Mike Lawrence, June 2005

“The next Governor will have no choice but to raise taxes.”

            — Republican State Representative Jim Sacia, May 2005

Government doesn’t cost what a few people say it costs. This state – like the federal government – is controlled by individuals who have little to no interest in limiting the number of tax dollars they take from American families and out of the private sector economy.
Again, at least at the state level, the Heartland Institute’s “Ten Principles of State Fiscal Policy” gives a good introduction on how and why government spending should be limited.
If Republican legislators don’t soon decide to become the party that stands up for American taxpayers, then there is little reason for the party to continue to exist. As one Illinois Lt. Governor candidate said earlier this year, “we don’t need two Democrat parties.”
©2006 John Francis Biver