From Streator to Springfield, a 'Long' first 100 days in Illinois House
A budget stalemate, pension crisis, high taxes and economic woes are hard for any lawmaker to work with — even harder for one only 100 days into office.
On Monday, Rep. Jerry Long (R-Streator) reflected on his time in the House since being sworn in Jan. 11.
He said while the problems facing the state were tough, he didn't realize the magnitude of the issues until he arrived in Springfield.
"For all the people that I have come to know, and the ones that have expressed concerns about the future of our state, I can't think of a better place to be able to help than fighting for them in Springfield," he said. "The opportunity to turn our state around and bring the certainty that families, businesses and future generations deserve is upon us. I hope that my colleagues recognize this opportunity and join me in making Illinois a national leader again and a state for which we can all be proud."
Long said the Democratic majority decides which bills move forward through the Rules Committee, and Speaker of the House Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) determines which bills will be called for a vote. When the General Assembly returned to work recently, it passed 179 pieces of legislation: 133 proposed by Democrats and 46 by Republicans.
In addition to the legislative blockade, the House has failed to pass a revenue estimate, which is the first step in building a budget, Long said. The Illinois Constitution requires the anticipated expenditures for the year not exceed the revenue estimate.
Despite the failure to negotiate a balanced budget, Long remained optimistic about turning the state around. He closed his 100 day remarks with a vow to continue to push for reforms to help the state economy grow and encourage businesses to expand or establish themselves in Illinois.