I have developed a very close, personal relationship with my state representative.
We have become very good friends and have managed to balance our friendship against the work that needs to be done in our state on behalf of the fire service.
Unless you live in a cave, you have seen the political crisis that has affected Illinois during the past three years. Our state budget has been used in a very disgusting, immoral and unethical manner by our state government; most notably by our governor. He has held the entire state hostage, including schools, children's hospitals, roads programs and yes; fire departments.
We are a very progressive, small fire department that pre-plans, including our financial forecasts.
In the current climate, how in the world can we look beyond the current fiscal year with any confidence and plan for our next five years with some economic accuracy?
I realize that it is not wise to spend money that you don't have, but what about money that was already approved by the legislature, but has been tied up by the governor for the last three years, because he's not happy that some of his pet projects were not funded? We have $25,000 in grant monies sitting in the Comptroller's office that has yet to be released to us, so we had to move forward with the project, borrow the money, then pay off the loan, because we needed emergency power at our fire station. It was a project worthy of a grant.
With the current budget crisis, I cannot in good conscience prepare our customary five year plan without considering tax increases or reducing services and that sounds strange for a small fire department that is used to running services on a boot strap-thin tax base.
Here is an article that will get your attention: http://www.ncsl.org/programs/press/2008/pr120408SBUDec08.htm
As always, I welcome comments.