With the help of American Action Network, we here at the Watcher are asking these congressional leaders to respond to our question;
How do you plan to cut spending, reform entitlements and balance the budget without raising taxes??!!!
Times are tough. Ongoing high unemployment and increasing prices for things like food and gasoline are putting an enormous financial strain on Americans families and business. If we don’t balance our budgets, families lose their cars and homes and small businesses go under, so we work hard every day to make ends meet.
Washington should be no different. Federal spending is out of control, deficits continue to grow and countries like China gain more financial leverage over us by the day, but our representatives seem reluctant to make the hard choices we make every day. It’s time for Washington to work hard to make ends meet.
On Friday, April 15 Congress took the first real step toward fiscal responsibility by passing Rep. Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget plan. This legislation will cut spending, reform entitlements and balance the budget without raising taxes.
Since you voted against this plan, I respectfully ask what you plan to do to cut spending, reform entitlements and balance the budget without raising taxes.
Costello, Jerry F. (D, IL-12) Davis, Danny K. (D, IL-7) Gutierrez, Luis V. (D, IL-4) Jackson, Jesse L. Jr. (D, IL-2) Lipinski, Daniel (D, IL-3) Quigley, Mike (D, IL-5) Rush, Bobby L. (D, IL-1) Schakowsky, Janice D. (D, IL-9)
Those of you looking to remain in office, should consider responding, as you failed to resolve these issues while in office.
From The Desk Of Senator Mark Kirk
S&P Issued a Pessimistic Outlook for the Value of U.S. Debt
We Have Been Warned
S&P Today: “if an agreement is not reached and meaningful implementation is not begun by then (2013), this would in our view render the U.S. fiscal profile meaningfully weaker than that of peer ‘AAA’ sovereigns.”
S&P just announced a negative outlook for the future of U.S. debt – a warning that if we do not stop spending, a crisis could come.
The rate of U.S. spending and debt is unsustainable — our economy is on a dangerous course. We are borrowing $4 billion a day and will pay our creditors over $200 billion just in interest payments this year.
In times of crisis, we face a choice: 1) raise taxes and provide government bailouts, or 2) cut spending and enact pro-growth policies. I strongly support cutting spending.
The Case of Ireland
If we do not change course, we face the fate of many European debtors. Take the case of Ireland. During the economic downturn, Ireland guaranteed the debts of its banks – essentially a bailout. Ireland increased spending and borrowing while its tax revenues shrunk. In response, Moody’s cut Ireland’s debt rating.
The price of Ireland’s bad government was paid by the people of Ireland. In August 2010, Ireland issued 40% fewer mortgages than before. Residential and commercial lending fell so fast that Ireland’s state-run National Asset Management Agency stepped in to find a way lend something to someone.
Lenders charged the Irish taxpayer more and more for the privilege of spending other people’s money.
The Case of Canada
Compare this to Canada. When faced with the same dilemma, Canada cut spending during its 1990s economic crisis. After Moody’s downgraded Canada’s foreign debt rating in 1994, the Canadian government cut 20% of federal spending. Because Canadian leaders waited until after their debt situation reached a crisis, they had to eliminate 40,000 public sector jobs.
Canada’s tough choices lowered borrowing costs and strengthened the country as the government sought pro-growth solutions. In fact, Canada came out of the recent financial crisis healthier than most other countries – lenders charged less and less, with new confidence that Canada had its act together.
The Case of the United States
We now face similar choices. To protect you and your income, I think we should follow Canada’s fiscally responsible path and avoid the drop in incomes suffered by the Irish people. If the government makes hard choices now, you will be protected from hard choices later.
In Ireland, the government said ‘yes’ to everyone and ‘no’ to its economic future. In Canada, the government learned that restraint and responsibility led to a very bright future.
With today’s report from S&P, we Americans have been warned.
Thank you for your continued interest in these important issues. As always, please feel free to contact me at (312) 886-3506 or online at kirk.senate.gov if you have any questions or comments, or should issues of concern to you come before the Congress.
It is an honor to serve you in the U.S. Senate.
Very truly yours,
If, by following Canada, you mean to gut over-reaching government mandates and job crushing regulations, as well as public employee positions, (Most notably; czars) then by all means, I agree.
As the Easter parade is about to get started we went around getting some pictures that most event goers won’t be able to get. Here is some of the festivities.
It was a day for the kids of Joliet Illinois..Star wars was from when I was a kid and you will see from the pictures the kids still love it even today.. The Joliet Library hosted this event and the event was a big success..
RSS feed post.
Last week, Congress and the administration refused to seriously consider the problem of government spending. Despite the fear-mongering, a government shutdown would not have been as bad as claimed. It is encouraging that some in Washington seem to be insisting on reduced spending, which is definitely a step in the right direction, but only one step. We have miles to go before we can even come close to a solution, and it will involve completely redefining the role of government in our lives and on the world stage.
A compromise was struck at the last minute, but until Democrats agree to rein in entitlement spending, and Republicans back off the blank checks to the military industrial complex, it all amounts to political gamesmanship. Unfortunately, the compromises always seem to be just the opposite. Instead of the left agreeing to cut social spending and the right agreeing to cut military spending, the right agrees to more welfare and the left agrees to more warfare. In spite of all the rhetoric, we will go deeper in debt, the Fed will print more money, and the value of the dollar will continue to plummet. How long will it be before foreigners stop buying our debt, and hyperinflation arrives?
Throughout history, empires have always overextended themselves through conquests and wealth transfers leading to eventual collapse, from the Roman Empire to the Soviet Union. We are headed in the same direction and it seems only the chaos of the collapse of the dollar will stop the spending spree. Arguing over funding for Planned Parenthood and NPR, though important, only shows that leadership in Washington either won’t face reality, or don’t understand how serious the problem is. Of course, an actual government collapse would create serious problems for many people who have come to depend on government payments for healthcare, retirement income, their children’s education, and even food and housing. However, these so-called entitlement programs are unconstitutional to begin with and have engendered a culture of dependence on wealth transfer payments that is out of control. It concerns me greatly that instead of dealing seriously with our situation, so many in Washington would rather allow the chaos that will ensue when all of the dependent people are suddenly cut off. Better to look reality squarely in the face and tell people the difficult truth that government is simply not capable of managing people’s lives from cradle to grave as was foolishly promised. We face trillions in deficits with any of the budgets under consideration. Keeping those promises is, sadly, just not one of our options in the long run.
Better to admit the nanny state is coming to an end and we are no longer working on “compromises” but a transition – to a sustainable way of life, one that respects the constitution, the rule of law and property rights.
So as the new mayor takes over, the citizens of Joliet are wondering if he will make the tough decisions. Considering he has been a councilman for a few years, perhaps the biggest question will come in the way of the city manager. What to do with him?
How does one who’s been on the council for years, expect to garner any further knowledge of the city’s finances from a manager who’s helped put the city into its present condition? It’s like a hangman asking the coroner, “How’d he die?” It’s time to fire this one and try another. Perhaps someone with a few years business experience?
I mean, as a councilman, what exactly were you doing all those years? Surely you showed up for more than coffee. Did you ever get involved in the voting process? Were those votes like congress, where you had to pass it, to find out what was in it?
Perhaps you were busy with the people of the district, you know, getting out the vote.
Somewhere you failed the people of Joliet, and now we are supposed to believe you are going to get things in order?
And to think, YOU’LL be in charge of your replacement for the council seat you’re vacating?
OH, PLEASE! PLEASE!, take the advice of your at-large councilwoman comrade, Jan Quillman: “I think it should be someone that would work with the council (read; more of the same), BUT, (Jan continues) I don’t think it should be someone who has already served on the council.” Would that come under the heading of “conflict of interest”, of perhaps, conflicting interests? Wouldn’t want to upset the status-quo, would we?
I’m sure you’ll choose someone who is already retired from another job and collecting a pension, over someone who is QUALIFIED.
Maybe you could dig up one of those dead people who voted for you!
So far, the best news to come out of this election is that three present councilmen WON’T be back. How these people keep putting back in office the ones who have taken everything they could, without getting anything in return for the people of Joliet, is beyond comprehension.
The ballpark, which couldn’t pay its bills. The waterpark, which is way out of the way of the average citizen, not to mention, expensive. The only thing that is left in downtown…, oh yeah…, that’s right…, it’s going to be a GOVERNMENT CAMPUS!!!
This, no doubt, will require more chamber of commerce employees paid for by taxpayers. (Chamber of commerce!! What a laugh!!!) WHAT COMMERCE???? All that is left downtown is, signs that read; for rent, for lease or for sale!!!
The people have spoken, and the only thing sadder than the outcome, is what’s TO COME.
(Joliet, Illinois) –After rejecting the notion of a tax increases, Mihelich took it one step further expressing frustration that the question should even be on the table saying, “I think it’s irresponsible that our city council has gotten us into a position where we look at a tax increase.”
“We cannot tax our way to fiscal solvency or prosperity,” said Mihelich. “That’s what my opponents currently serving on the council have tried to do and it has left us with a smaller tax base and bigger deficits. We have to chart a different course and that begins with a city government that lives within the means of the Joliet families who pay for it.”
Joliet residents are urged to vote Mihelich and send a clear message that Joliet cannot continue its tax-and-spend ways. In their recent editorial, the Joliet Herald Newspaper recently endorsed Warren Dorris for mayor, noting that he’s served for the last 26 years on the city council. During this time, he and his city council cohorts approved bad investments and irresponsible increases in pay for city workers. They lost more than $500 Million in gaming revenue. The average city worker in Joliet makes almost $90,000 a year in compensation. This is more on average than the city workers earn in San Francisco, California.
Additionally, members of the Joliet Herald editorial board who made the endorsement for Dorris DO NOT EVEN LIVE WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS OF JOLIET! They will be immune to the property tax increases Dorris and the council incumbents have proposed. The Herald’s endorsement is unethical. This alone represents another reason change is needed in Joliet.
Early on in the campaign Mihelich unveiled his “Jobs for Joliet” economic recovery plan. The key components of the Mihelich plan:
- Partnering with Joliet Junior College’s Small Business Development Center
- Creating a Joliet Economic Development Commission
- Job-training for Joliet residents
- Review of contracting to ensure the city is meeting its participation goals for minority-owned and woman-owned businesses
And while tough decisions will need to be made about the size and expense of city government in the short-term, Mihelich understands that economic growth is the long-term solution.
Mihelich has framed his campaign around a simple proposition: As mayor, he will ask a simple question when considering each and every policy proposal, “Will this policy help Joliet families to be successful?”
The first thing a family needs to be successful is a job.
The centerpiece of the Mihelich plan is for the city to aid in the development, launch and support for small businesses.
“Every community wants to bring in the big manufacturer or the big retailer, and I do as well,” said Mihelich. “But instead of seeking only home runs, we need to start hitting some singles and doubles. Small businesses are the engines of job growth in our economy and can be in Joliet.”
Mihelich noted that of the nearly 1.2 million businesses in Illinois, 88% of them are so-called “microenterprises” with less than five employees. (source: Association for Enterprise Opportunity)
Mihelich proposed that, in addition to the city’s Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the City of Joliet work more closely with the Illinois Small Business Development Center located at Joliet Junior College.
“We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, we just need to educate our residents about the services and support that is out there to create a culture of entrepreneurship in Joliet,” said Mihelich.· “The Small Business Development Center already works in conjunction with federal and state economic development agencies and retired executives to provide a wide range of services that help small businesses get off the ground and support them once their doors are open.”
Mihelich said that very few existing businesses much less prospective ones know about the services available. Mihelich proposed district-by-district seminars on everything from writing business plans to financing options available.· Mihelich also suggested creating an Entrepreneur’s Speakers Series for successful entrepreneurs to mentor those just starting out.
Mihelich said his plan wouldn’t cost the city money as it simply would coordinate resource providers and educate Joliet residents as to the resources available for small businesses and start-ups.
Mihelich also proposed creation of a Joliet Economic Development Commission where business, labor, and civic community leaders will be recruited to map out reforms they believe are needed to make Joliet a place that keeps existing businesses and attracts new ones that feature good paying jobs with benefits for Joliet families.
“It is important to gather the input of leaders in a variety of sector and fields of endeavor to make sure we don’t miss anything when it comes to the reforms needed to make Joliet a destination for business,” said Mihelich.
Mihelich said his first charge to the newly minted city-specific commission will be; (1) to ensure Joliet is getting a good return on its investment with the Will County Center for Economic Development; and (2) To aid in the transformation of downtown Joliet, including its street layout, to better embody a 21st century city.
Mihelich also believes it is important for the mayor to be an ambassador for the city. Mihelich will personally visit existing Joliet businesses to gain an understanding of the specific challenges they face and how the city can help.· He will also serve as the city’s lead recruiter for new businesses to make sure the interests of every neighborhood and every family is represented at the table as it pertains to new economic opportunities.
Mihelich will also make job-training a priority to ensure Joliet families have the skills they need to compete for new jobs in the city. Mihelich’s experience at Joliet Junior College will be key to developing the necessary partnerships to make available the core skills-training required for residents who need help preparing for success in our global, digital economy.
Mihelich emphasized the need to review the city’s minority contractor participation program to ensure participating goals are being met and exceeded.· The city has a 10% minority set aside.· “We need to begin by getting minority contractors certified to bid on contracts.· We also need to construct city contracts in such a way that minorities can competitively compete.”
Mihelich’s commitment to fair competition and equitable participation in city businesses earned him the Latino Business Association’s Community Advocate of the Year Award in 2008.
Putting his plan into action already, Mihelich organized a rally in Joliet on Sunday afternoon as a show of support for the Peoria-based manufacturer Caterpillar and to call on Governor Pat Quinn and the General Assembly to respond to the concerns raised by Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman in his March 21 letter to the Governor.
“Illinois cannot afford to lose Caterpillar and Joliet cannot afford to lose Caterpillar,” said Mihelich, who has made job creation and business location the main thrust of his mayoral campaign.
“This is a wake-up call for the state and for our community. I want to show Caterpillar that at the local level we want to do everything we can to keep them here and that includes pressuring our legislators and elected officials in Springfield to pursue policies that keep Caterpillar in Illinois.”
Mihelich retired as Joliet Junior College’s Associate Vice President after 30 years of service.· For 20 years he directed all of the college’s economic development programs, including dislocated worker assistance, small business development and entrepreneurship training, worker retraining, and community development.
During his career at JJC, Mihelich also served on the Grundy Economic Development Council for twelve years. He chaired their Business Growth and Expansion Committee and served on the Executive Committee.· He received their Community Member of the Year Award in 2000.
At the recent mayoral debate at the University of Saint Francis in Joliet, Mihelich set himself apart from his 8 opponents by detailing his in-depth accounting and leadership skills that have provided unprecedented light on the city’s financial circumstance. “To balance the city’s budget, with a forecasted $27 Million deficit without reducing personnel costs would require a 77% increase in property taxes,” Mihelich highlighted. “A 77% increase?” one forum attendee questioned after the debate. “They lost $500 Million of our tax money and now they want to be mayor? Are you kidding me?
“Tough decisions on personnel costs have to be made and I am prepared to make these tough decisions,” Mihelich said in his comments. “No one said addressing personnel costs would be easy or painless. I did not get us into this mess, but I am prepared to get us out of this mess. The City Council not only sold out the taxpayers of Joliet, they sold out the city’s employees. The employees should not be held accountable. Our City Council should be held accountable.”
Where were their plans before they decided to run for mayor, Mihelich asked of his council opponents. “Where are their plans even today? “When casino revenue is down 40% and new development revenue is down 95%, the current salary structure cannot be maintained. Just like a household budget, the City of Joliet has to live within its means. Their tax and spend policy to maintain the status quo has to end,” Mihelich boldly stated.
Mihelich concluded by reiterating that the City needs need safe and clean neighborhoods. “We need to create awareness on the problems of gangs, illegal drugs, and the homeless and work to solve these problems,” Mihelich said. “My name is Andy Mihelich and I am asking for your vote on April 5th.”
Mihelich served on the Joliet City Center Partnership Board of Directors for over a decade. He helped create the partnership’s vision for downtown redevelopment.
“I urge everyone to vote for Andrew “Andy” Mihelich. He’s number 3 on the ballot. We need a smart, educated mayor. We don’t need 26 years of tax-and-spend.”