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Quincy Herald Whig: Republicans visit Quincy to unveil plan for Illinois budget crisis

Herald-Whig Senior Writer

Illinois conservatives unveiled a plan to protect taxpayers and “stop the bleeding” in state government during a series of news conferences that included one at Quincy Regional Airport on Wednesday.

“Illinois is bleeding to death. Electing a Republican Legislature stops the bleeding,” said Adam Andrzejewski, chairman of For the Good of Illinois Political Action Committee.

During a statewide tour, Andrzejewski and Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross called for conservative candidates to sign a three point pledge to freeze property taxes, require adversarial audits and repeal of the 67 percent state income tax increase.

“Freeze, audit and repeal,” Andrzejewski said.

Cross said the media tour is about saving Illinois.

“We can’t continue on the road we’re on right now,” Cross said.

According to Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, the state began the 2013 fiscal year on July 1 with between $7.5 billion and $8 billion in unpaid bills. That is down from the $8.5 billion owed at the end of fiscal 2011. If pension obligations are calculated, the funding shortfall is more than $45 billion.

Cross said surrounding states have kept taxes low, encouraged economic development, cut their spending and gotten their pension systems in line. He said Illinois has not done those things and now must make the tough choices to heal the state’s financial crisis.

“We cannot turn around this state or rebound economically if we don’t repeal that income tax hike,” Cross said.

State Rep. Jil Tracy, R-Quincy, said constituents are opposed to higher taxes and the casual way the state’s Democratic majority has called for more tax money but no spending cuts.

“We just can’t sustain it anymore, and it’s good to just draw our line in the sand and say no more taxes and this kind of commitment to a freeze,” she said.

Randy Frese, a Republican candidate for the 47th District state Senate seat, said Illinois lawmakers should take a lesson from Adams County officials who have held the line on spending.

“I am very proud of my record as circuit court clerk, having a balanced budget and holding expenditures in check over these past eight years that I’ve served,” Frese said.

Andrzejewski said the pledge is “a blueprint to win in a blue state.” The plan has been embraced by 71 percent of registered voters who responded to a survey.

“This is the plan to win and more importantly, these are the solutions to the long-term problems of Illinois,” Andrzejewski said.

Andrzejewski was a Republican candidate for the Illinois gubernatorial nomination in 2010. He and his brother founded a telephone directory publishing business that brought the company nearly $20 million a year at one point. Those funds helped establish For the Good of Illinois, which has supported many conservative candidates in Illinois campaigns.

— dwilson@whig.com/221-3372

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