March 26th, 2014
For Immediate Release
Contact: Zach Koutsky 630-269-3826 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Cross Is a Budget Gimmick Hypocrite
Republican Leader Cross backed some of most costly budget gimmicks in Springfield History
Chicago, IL- The Frerichs campaign today responded to Rep. Tom Cross’s hypocritical stance on the Governor’s budget address.
“Tom Cross saying he now opposes Springfield budget gimmicks is like A Rod saying he now opposes performance enhancing drugs. Cross’s sudden conversion is a little hard to swallow given he has spent his whole twenty year Springfield career creating and voting for almost every budget gimmick passed under Governors Edgar, Ryan and Blagojevich. Below are the hypocritical highlights of the budget gimmicks Tom Cross supported that has helped put Illinois on the brink of bankruptcy,” said Frerichs Campaign Manager, Zach Koutsky.
Mike Frerichs has served as the State Senator for the 52nd District since 2007, representing Champaign and Vermilion Counties. Mike is currently Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee and was previously the chair of the Senate Agriculture and Conservation Committee. Mike is originally from Gifford, Illinois (pop. 975) and was in the first generation of his family to attend college (Yale University). Previously, Mike was elected to the Champaign County Board (2000) and was Champaign County Auditor (2002-2007). He is also a Certified Public Finance Officer (CPFO) and was awarded the Certificate for Excellence in Financial Reporting for his work in bringing transparency and strict oversight to the County’s budget. His slogan, “Standing Tall for Illinois,” references that at 6 feet 8 inches, Mike is one of the tallest legislators in Illinois history.
CROSS BUDGET SUPPORT OF GIMMICKS AND BAD VOTES
CROSS SUPPORTED SECURITIZATION BILL IN 2002 WHERE THE STATE OF ILLINOIS BORROWED LONG TERM FOR SHORT-TERM CASH FLOW FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 184 YEARS:
“Both chambers approved a plan for the state to borrow against future proceeds from the national tobacco settlement. Although Senate Republicans opposed the idea for weeks, they endorsed a compromise that makes the borrowing, called “securitization,” optional for the governor. It also stipulates that the $750 million the state will collect from the plan will be deposited equally into the state’s rainy day fund and into a year-end checkbook reserve. The securitization bill – House Bill 2828 – was approved 36-18 in the Senate and 100-17 in the House.” [State Journal-Register, June 3, 2002]
BACKED THE INFAMOUS EDGAR PENSION RAMP
* “The secret to the Edgar ramp is pretty simple: it pushes pension debt off on to future generations”: “Illinoisans look on Jim Edgar with fondness – probably because he is part of that minority of living Illinois governors who didn’t end up in prison. Sandwiched between the free-spending Thompson and Ryan administrations, many have taken to thinking of Edgar as a fiscal conservative. In some ways he was fiscally prudent.
Like today, back in the early 1990s the pension system was in crisis and legislators and the governor searched for a fix.
Their solution wasn’t particularly innovative or brave. The secret to the Edgar ramp is pretty simple: it pushes pension debt off on to future generations. [Daily Review Atlas, Reeder Column March 15, 2013]
* Cross Voted in Favor SB 533 (Public Act 88-593) (Edgar Pension Ramp).
Fast Forward to 2013. Think Tank Illinois Policy Institute Criticizes Cross-Nekritz Pension Bill for Creating Another Pension Ramp
* “Now a variety of legislators, including state Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, and House GOP Leader Tom Cross, are talking about solving the current pension mess by creating – you guessed it – another pension ramp. No matter how many adjustments our politicians try to make to this immense pension machine, they will always fail because they can’t predict the future. No one knows how the stock and bond markets will perform in coming decades, how long future retirees will live-or even what future lawmakers will promise. Because we don’t know what the future portends, a promise of a future benefit can’t be guaranteed, as Cross-Nekritz would mandate. When will we learn there is no ramp off this road to fiscal perdition? [Daily Review Atlas, March 15, 2013]
– Scott Reeder is a veteran statehouse reporter and the journalist in residence at the Illinois Policy Institute. [Daily Review Atlas, March 15, 2013]
Cross Supported Borrowing $2.2 Billion to Help Fund Public Employee Pensions: Frerichs voted against concurring to House Amendments No. 2, 3 and 4 to SB 415. The bill authorizes the sale of general obligation bonds in the amount of $2.23 billion to fund pension obligations of the state. [SB 415, 6/30/09, Concurrence in House Amendment, Failed 32-21-04; Passed House 101-7, 3rd Reading 06/29/09, Cross = Y]
CROSS SUPPORTED EVERY GEORGE RYAN BUDGET. AFTER FOUR YEARS OF GEORGE RYAN AND BUDGETS PASSED DURING HIS TENURE, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE SUMMED UP THE DAMAGE OF THOSE BUDGETS BACKED BY TOM CROSS AND THE ILLINOIS LEGISLATURE: “KEY MISSTEPS FUELED STATE’S BUDGET CRISIS: RYAN, LEGISLATORS BURNED SURPLUS, HIKED DEBT WITH NO EYE ON FUTURE.” …
“In just three years, Ryan and lawmakers burned through a budget surplus, bloated the state’s per-capita debt to help launch a $12 billion public works spree, boosted the payroll by tens of millions of dollars and raided hundreds of millions of dollars from the main checking account to pay for legislative pork-barrel projects. Revenues soared during much of that period, but spending soared even faster.” [Chicago Tribune, 05/05/02]
Chicago Daily Herald Editorial on the Budget Passed in 2002: “Lawmakers’ reckless fiscal conduct: If Illinois’ lawmakers are walking around with a stoop today, it’s explainable. They’re spineless – at least the ones who voted for the new state budget approved on Sunday. They lacked the courage to lead the state out of serious fiscal crisis in a responsible way. They instead surrendered to the temptation to spend, borrow and avoid some of the more painful fiscal decisions. A lot of pathetic politics, careless fiscal decisions and very little, if any, leadership.
Cross Votes Y on FY 2002 Budget/Budget Implementation [House Journal, 05/31/01]
NATIONAL TAXPAYERS FOR ILLINOIS SCORES CROSS NEGATIVELY FOR BACKING BLOATED BUDGETS AND TAX INCREASES FOR THE BLAGOJEVICH ERA
Cross voted for 300 tax and fee increases (Governor Blagojevich’s FY2004 $52.6 billion budget).
SB1903 increased state spending by 9% (or $6.5 billion) by the end of fiscal year 2004, and imposed $350 million in tax hikes, mainly on Illinois businesses. According to the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, SB1903 added $2 BILLION to the cost of doing business in Illinois. (2003)
Cross voted for Governor Blagojevich’s FY2005 Partial Operational Budget totaling $45.5 billion.
SB3340 included substantial increases for healthcare and education but did not address out-of-control spending. According to National Taxpayers United of Illinois, after months of debate in the legislature, the FY2005 Capital Budget was passed totaling $9.1 billion. FY2005’s $54.6 billion state budget represented a 4% or $2 billion increase over the FY2004 budget. (2004)
Cross voted for a $750 million pork spending bill.
SB1239 included $300 million in new pork spending and about $450 million to finish projects started by former Governor George Ryan. $556 million of the pork spending bill was vetoed by Governor Blagojevich. Cross voted to override most of the Governor’s line item vetoes. (2003)
Cross voted for Governor Blagojevich’s $10 BILLION bond deal.
Cross voted to nearly double the state’s indebtedness with the largest bond issuance in Illinois history, by far. Cross’s vote for HB2660 also helped net controversial Republican National Committeeman Bob Kjellander $809,000 in “finder’s” fees. Kjellander is a key figure in an ongoing probe of corruption in Illinois. (2003)
Cross voted for a state income-tax increase that hits Illinois businesses for $29 million.
According to National Taxpayers United of Illinois, SB2207 redefines that phrase “business income” in a way that benefits the big-spenders in Springfield. (2004)
Cross voted to allow non-Home Rule sales tax increases to double.
According to National Taxpayers United of Illinois, SB0272 allows non-Home Rule municipalities to increase their sales tax 100%. Governor Blagojevich rightly vetoed the bill, but his veto was overridden. (2005)
Cross voted for a property tax hike to increase patronage employees’ pay.
SB1881 will cost taxpayers $31 million per year. Governor Blagojevich vetoed SB1881. Both Houses overrode the veto. (2003)