Op-Ed: Why I voted No

In an Op-Ed, State Representative Margo McDermed explains her "No" vote on the tax increase and budget bills brought forth by the majority Democrats:

During the debate, many claimed that their votes to raise taxes and end the budget impasse would be the biggest vote of their lifetime. They’re right, but many for the wrong reasons. 

The process by which these bills came to the floor was rushed, unfair, and lacked transparency. It’s a process we’ve seen too often in Illinois government, a process made famous by former State Representative Bost’s outburst on the House floor and further proof that Madigan has no interest in playing fair or negotiating in good faith. We were told we had to vote on Sunday because the state couldn’t possibly afford another day of negotiations on pension reform and other reforms. And yet the vote to seal the deal had to wait days because so many members left town. 

Illinois’ current path is untenable. We hold 10% of the entire nation’s pension debt. We’ve got some of the highest property taxes in the nation. We’re losing population at concerning rates and have still not returned to the level of jobs we had in 2000. 

More than that our resident are tired. They're tired of Illinois being a national laughing stock. They’re tired of the mismanagement of their money by the state legislature and their local governments. They’re tired of short sighted, selfish politicians. 

We cannot in good conscience reach even further in to the pockets of overburdened constituents and offer them nothing in return. Nothing to convince people to stay and raise their families here with confidence in our state’s future. They deserve better than a tax increase and a booby trapped budget. 

After two years of this impasse, the state needs the stability of a budget. But more than that it needs substantive change. This move undercuts the momentum of negotiations on the issues that no one wants to tackle, but the ones that we must. We voted on a budget, but we didn't vote on any of our underlying problems and now the legislature goes home. When we return remains unclear.  

Legislators and local governments alike must remember that the money it spends comes from the hardworking men and women of this state. We need to earn back their trust. The veto is overridden and Illinois has a budget for the first time in two years, but the real work is not done. Not even close.

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