MINOOKA – The Grundy Economic Development Council legislative breakfast was once again filled with area community leaders on hand to hear from local legislators on topics ranging from the budget to health care Monday morning in Minooka.
The annual dinner, hosted U.S Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, State Senator Sue Rezin, R- orris, State Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst R-Kankakee and State Rep. David Welter, R-Morris. Toi Hutchinson, D-Chicago Heights was the only legislator slated to attend who was unable to make it.
"It's an interesting time to be in politics," Nancy Norton, CEO of GEDC said before turning over the microphone to the legislators to talk about some of the topics most closely related to Grundy County and the rest of Illinois.
Rezin spent a good portion of her time discussing the state budget that remains at an impasse.
"We haven't had a full budget in two years," she said. "It's simple. We are spending higher than we are taking in."
She went on to explain that the state has $20 billion in unpaid bills, and that doesn't address any increases.
Welter, who replaced John Anthony, R-Minooka, prior to being elected, said that coming from county government gives him an insight on how not having a budget impacts those on a local level and that it is imperative for the state to have a budget.
Kinzinger discussed the changes in health care and said he wanted to clear up that it does not remove pre-existing illnesses but instead makes them more affordable.
Rezin discussed the importance of the school funding formula and looking for solutions that do not create winners and losers, but rather improve education across the state.
Welter said that, on some things, both sides had to be willing to compromise for the people of not just the district but also the state.
The "Grand Bargain" was brought up by all of the state legislators.
It is an effort to resolve the budget impasse in Springfield. The Illinois Senate leadership, John Cullerton and Christine Radogno, have jointly proposed a series of bills to increase revenue, reduce spending, and respond to the Illinois Governor’s concerns regarding pension reforms, workers compensation reform and property tax relief.
The "Grand Bargain" refers to a series of bills to make this happen.
Norton moderated the event, asking questions that were sent in from those in attendance to each of the leaders.
Welter said it was different sitting on the panel versus attending, as he has done the past seven years, and he felt good questions and quality honest answers were given from each of the legislators.