To the Editor:
With pseudo Republicans like former governor Jim Edgar speaking out in an attempt to dictate Republican Party policies here in Illinois, does it really matter which party controls Illinois?
During the week of April 5th, Jim Edgar hurled a double whammy against Republican Party members throughout the state when he not only criticized GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady's opposition to a state income tax hike of 33 percent, but also sided with Governor Quinn in calling Brady's plan to cut the state budget by 10 percent across-the-board "naive" and impossible to achieve.
Whammy number two took place when Edgar made a pitch for the legalization of immigrants at a news conference at the Merchandise Mart on April 8, at which time he announced the formation of a new coalition to push for federal immigration reforms. Later on in the day Edgar addressed 200 area businessmen informing them that the estimated 540,000 illegal immigrants here in Illinois would result in billions of dollars of new economic activity.
Edgar's intention is to convince his Republican colleagues here in Illinois and those serving in the U.S. House and Senate of the economic merits of granting legal status. Further, that the failure to support legalization of immigrants will bring lasting political damage to the Republican Party. It is evident that Edgar cares only about satisfying his Big Business Buddies who want cheap labor and who could care less about the American worker.
Edgar's push for legalization should be soundly rejected as naive and in direct opposition to what is good for the economic welfare of this state and nation.
There is no bailout needed for the estimated 540,000 illegal immigrants here in Illinois! It is Illinois taxpayers who are in need of a bailout. Illinois taxpayers are now footing the bill for services given to illegal immigrants at the cost of $4 billion dollars a year.
Given that the state's unemployment rate is at 11.3 percent, the highest in 27 years, and that undocumented workers claim 5 percent of the metropolitan Chicago workforce, it makes no sense to push for amnesty.
Has Governor Edgar considered the consequences of amnesty and its aftermath, chain migration?
Once granted citizenship, immigrants can also send for their spouses, siblings, parents and adult children. Richard Rector of the Heritage Foundation reported back in June of 2007 that while college-educated immigrants pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits -- low-skill immigrants do not. Rector also estimated that amnesty would cost the U.S. taxpayers at least $2.6 trillion.
Just as flawed and unacceptable is Jim Edgar's knee jerk reaction to Illinois budget woes.
Edgar seems more than willing to kick the can down the road. It cannot be disputed that Illinois is in terrible shape with $6 billion in unpaid bills, a bond rating of second lowest in the nation, and an unfunded pension plan for public employees with a liability of over $80 billion.
A policy paper published by Kristina Rasmussen of the Illinois Policy Institute on April 7 -- Illinois Economic Outlook Drops from 44th to 47th -- reported how Illinois ranks 48th in economic performance and 47th in economic outlook.
Jim Edgar, as a former governor, should realize that the practice of searching for new revenue from taxpayers over the years to pay for more government workers and unpaid pension liabilities has only resulted in crowding out core spending for the truly needy. The recent pension reform passed in Springfield and touted as historic legislation only nibbled around the edges.
It would be wise for Republicans, even pseudo Republicans, to study and take action on a series of reforms published by the Illinois Policy Institute on 3/15: Budget Solutions 2011: A New Way Forward.
There are three key elements of the plan which would require no increases or borrowing to balance the budget.
If the Illinois Republican Party really cares about its future and wishes to remain a party that can make a difference, it must reject destructive musings from pseudo Republicans like Jim Edgar.
Otherwise the Republican Party will continue to remain on the fringe of politics here in Illinois, up crumbs here and there, while forever searching for that pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
Nancy J. Thorner
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