Jeffrey Leef challenges Rep. Davis, 'machine' politics
Jeffrey Leef sees Illinois’ No. 49 rank in terms of taxpayer debt burden by the group Truth in Accounting as a full-fledged indictment of the state’s entire political system.
“Democrats, who have run Illinois, and more specifically Chicago, for close to 100 years, are rigidly and unwaveringly principled in their dishonesty, corruption, racism and self-serving behaviors,” Leef, who is running against U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, a Democrat, in the Seventh Congressional District, told the West Cook News. “Republicans are embarrassingly craven and unprincipled, both locally and nationally.
A new Truth in Accounting survey finds Illinois next to last in the country in terms of its high taxpayer burden. The survey also found that the average Illinois taxpayer now owes $50,400 in debt, based on 2016 government financial records.
Overall, the cash-strapped state has total liabilities of $235.9 billion, with just $25.5 billion in assets.
The state’s faltering reputation comes after well over a decade of Democrats' uninterrupted rule, including 11 straight years of Democrats occupying the governor’s mansion before the 2014 election of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Even with Rauner in power, Democrats, with the aid of a handful of Republican lawmakers, earlier this year banded together to override a veto by Rauner to permanently increase the personal income tax by 32 percent.
“Illinoisans expect (House Speaker Mike) Madigan's Democrats to raise our personal income taxes by a permanent increase of 32 percent, but for the 10 ‘Republican’ elected representatives to vote in this manner was shocking even by Chicago standards,” Leef said.
Leef said the unenviable place Illinois now finds itself in hasn’t come about overnight.
“The majority of the fiscal debacle we see today is decades in the making,” he said. “The majority lies at the unscrupulous feet of career politicians in the Daley/Madigan machine. Crony capitalism, patronage jobs, union corruption, unfettered pandering to lobbyists are legendary.”
In slapping the state an overall "F" grade, Truth in Accounting researchers also highlighted that the state now owes nearly $117 billion in pension liabilities, or roughly half of its $210 billion in overall debt. In 2016 alone, pension liabilities grew by another $8 billion.
“While Republicans can bloviate at loud volume about the horrible Democrats, bray about the free market and supply-side economics, and whine about the evil leprechaun in Springfield, they sit back and do nothing to change,” Leef said. “The Republican Party has allowed Illinois to become a one-party state, has only itself to blame and this is the result.”
The Seventh District includes much of the west side of Chicago and parts of the suburban communities of Bellwood, Maywood, Oak Park, Westchester and River Forest.