One of the major roles of being a state representative is listening to your constituents. I pride myself on not only listening to the concerns of residents and business owners in the 72nd District but also attempting to solve problems. The biggest concern I hear is the state's budget and its unpaid bills. This not only has affected our schools and social-service agencies but it also has affected how the businesses in our state plan for growth. We must not forget that in 2008 and 2009 we saw an economic collapse not seen since the Great Depression. When businesses were laying workers off, you also saw a large reduction in tax receipts. But we still needed to invest in vital services and education while seeing this large reduction. Now that we are seeing signs of growth, we are seeing more jobs being added to Illinois. At the same time, I have voted for budgets that have cut spending by almost $3 billion and have voted to direct any new spending to paying down unpaid bills. I have voted to completely reform our state's Medicaid system which ensures those that are not eligible each and every year are kicked off the system. We have much more to do -- but this situation was not created overnight and its solution will not come in just one year either. The issue of our debt and unpaid bills is not going to be solved by cuts alone, like my opponent claims it can be (though he has refused to specify any cuts he supports). We must have a pro-growth strategy as well in this state. As I stated above one of the roles of being a state representative is listening to area business owners for their insights and ideas. Deere & Co. stated that there was a significant need for engineers here in the Quad-Cities. That is why with their help and the help of the state, we were able to secure Western Illinois University Quad Cities and now have an accredited engineering program right here in the Quad-Cities. Public-private partnerships work and that is why we must encourage working together. We can not only train our students right here in the Quad-Cities but we can ensure that high paying jobs will be here as well. We can foster growth in our local businesses in other ways as well. I helped pass the EDGE tax credits that incentive our businesses to keep jobs right here in Illinois. I have continually supported extension of the Research and Development Tax Credits that help our advanced manufacturing companies ensure that they continue to invest right here in the Quad-Cities. We must continue to support our local businesses to reinvest right here in Illinois and not ship jobs elsewhere. Our current tax rates are still lower than our neighbors, and I support the expiration of the temporary tax increase. A combination of growth, education investment and budget cuts is the most effective way to balancing our state's budget and I will continue to support these strategies.
Pat Verschoore, D-Milan, represents Illinois House District 72.
Today is Friday, Dec. 13, the 347th day of 2013. There are 18 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: Merry sleigh bells jingle in our streets in the wake of a driving northwest storm of snow and rain. 1888 -- 125 years ago: Thomas Campbell was elected commander of John Buford Post 243, Grand Army of the Republic. 1913 -- 100 years ago: Thomas B. Reidy was named consul of C.W. Hawes Camp No. 1550, and L.H. Eihl was named consul of Camp 29, Modern Woodmen of America. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Rock Island aldermen last night upheld the view of a petition signed by 150 businessmen that the city should not install parking meters. 1963 -- 50 years ago: Total volume during the Christmas mailing season may reach 12 million pieces in Rock Island, according to Rock Island Postmaster Carl J.L. Wessel. 1988 -- 25 years ago: The aromas filling the air at the Rock Island Lines depot in Rock Island soon will be prime rib and roast duck rather than sawdust and plaster. A tourist train will be offering dinner excursions in mid-February or early March, according to Dan Carmody, executive director of the Development Association of Rock Island.