To the editor:
It has come to my attention that there was an article printed a few days ago alleging that Congressman Jerry Costello introduced a bill in the United States Congress concerning cap on insurance rates in the flood plain and, furthermore, that this bill was linked to the so-called "Star Bond" development pending now in the Illinois General Assembly.
As someone who has been involved in both issues, I can categorically and without any hesitation say that these two matters are not remotely connected and have never been connected.
Congressman Costello's efforts in dealing with our levee issues has been ongoing for several years and have had considerable input of myself and other civic and political leaders in the Metro East. The bill that he introduced in Congress deals with mitigating the effects of insurance increases that will result from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's reckless remapping process that has been done without a proper study of the conditions of our levees, ignoring, as well, the efforts that the state and local communities have made toward the reconstruction of these levees so as to meet current design studies as set by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Let me say, again, that Congressman Costello's bill has been the result of work and requests from us at the local and state levels. Moreover, his work on this matter long pre-dates any consideration by the State of Illinois of a Star Bonds District.
I would also note that Congressman Costello has worked closely with Congressman John Shimkus in this matter, who can certainly support what I am saying to you.
I am the primary sponsor of the various flood control and levee reconstruction bills that were passed by the Illinois General Assembly and enacted into law last year. While working on those, we had frequent conversations with Congressman Costello and they included many of the points in the bill he recently filed in Congress. Again, all of this long pre-dated any discussion of the creation of a Star Bonds District by the State of Illinois.
I have been involved in negotiations concerning the Star Bonds, and I have been acting responsibly on behalf of my region in attempting to craft a bill that will encourage economic growth but avoid unreasonable economic and dislocation in the region. This has been a tricky, demanding and time consuming effort that began last spring, but it has not involved Congressman Costello.
In short, any suggestion that the filing of this bill in the United States Congress was an effort to assist the formation of the Star Bonds District is baseless, false and without merit. For anyone to so state would be absolutely irresponsible and unfair to Congressman Jerry Costello and everyone who has been working in any of these issues, but especially the Congressman.
Illinois State Sen. William Haine