September 26, 2012 - For Immediate Release
(Glen Carbon, Illinois) In town to support State Senate Candidate Mike Babcock, the top Republican in the Illinois Senate is warning that 56th District taxpayers will see significantly higher property taxes if Governor Quinn gets his proposed "cost shift" during a January lame duck session, as Democrats are planning.
Babcock joined Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) in sounding the alarm, saying that proposed pension "reform" measures may actually be more about raising money for expanded state programs and less about reforming or fixing the state's massive unfunded pension liabilities.
"The pension underfunding is a serious problem. I don't think anyone disagrees with that," Babcock said."Illinois has the worst-funded retirement system in the nation. But allowing State government to off load the pension debt that Springfield politicians have racked up onto local property taxpayers is unacceptable. We cannot allow that to happen."
Babcock pledged to oppose the plan that would raise local property taxes by shifting state costs to local school districts.
Radogno warned that she is seeing the same pattern develop this year that she saw two years ago, when Democrat candidates for the legislature pledged not to raise taxes and then after the election voted for a 67% income tax increase – the largest tax hike in state history.
"If Bill Haine says he won't vote for the property tax increase…well, all I can say is that we heard the same thing about the income tax two years ago," Radogno warned. "Remember the old saying, 'fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.' I don't want the taxpayers of the 56th district to be fooled twice."
This year, she said, there is also a new twist and a new risk.
"Chicago legislators are fond of arguing that their school district covers a larger percentage of pension costs than downstate districts, but what they don't mention is that when the entire system of funding schools is examined, the Chicago Public Schools may receive more than their fair share, even with the pension contribution factored in,"Radogno said.
Radogno explained that the antiquated state school aid formulas are already skewed to benefit Chicago by giving less weight to children in downstate school districts, than children in Chicago.
"Why should a child needing special education services in Alton deserve less than a child in Chicago with the same needs?" Babcock asked. "Yet, that is the way state funds are distributed. We have a skewed system and that system is designed to reward Chicago."
Radogno added that, as proposed, the argument that costs ought to be shifted to local school districts so they have a stake in holding down pension costs is fundamentally flawed because it is the legislature, not the school districts that determine pension benefits.
"It sounds good, but the fact of the matter is, pushing the costs onto local school districts and then leaving the legislature in control of setting benefits is just an invitation for disaster,"Radogno said. "It means a property tax increase in downstate and suburban communities. It means a property tax hike everywhere but Chicago."
"After their 67% income tax increase, the people of this district certainly cannot afford their property tax hike," Babcock concluded.
Babcock has made job creation a top priority of his campaign for the Illinois Senate. A graduate of Roxana High School and SIU-E, Babcock said his experience as a small business owner gives him the perspective and experience needed to focus on job creation. His opponent is a lifelong politician who has been on the public payroll for nearly 25 years. Haine's occasional employment outside of government has primarily been with trial lawyers.
August 29, 2012 - BND.com
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Continuing pension problems and government gridlock earned Illinois another reduction in its credit rating Wednesday.
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said it lowered Illinois' rating a notch because of "weak pension funding levels and lack of action on reform measures." The firm also said the financial outlook for Illinois is negative, in part because the state's temporary income tax is scheduled to expire in 2015.
Lower ratings can raise the interest rate Illinois must pay when borrowing money.
The downgrade, from A+ to A, leaves Illinois with the nation's second-lowest rating from S&P. California is rated A-, but it has earned a "positive outlook" from the firm. Moody's rating service has also warned that it may lower Illinois' rating.
August 18, 2012 - TheTelegraph.com
Using the title "Principle must come before party" State Sen. Bill Haine recently submitted an opinion column touting a letter he sent to the federal Secretary of Health and Human Services in opposition to the agency's pro-abortion policies.
However, when it comes to actually casting votes, Mr. Haine too easily falls into line behind his staunchly pro-abortion Senate president and Senate caucus. It is difficult to reconcile Mr. Haine's personal opposition to abortion with his consistent and unflinching support of pro-abortion Chicago Democrats that goes back to his first days in the state legislature and includes former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, current Senate President John Cullerton, Gov. Pat Quinn and, of course, Gov. Rod Blagojevich. more
This article below was featured in the The Alton Telegraph Newspaper today ad I felt that it must be read by every voter. This is the reason why I am running for the Senate and why we cannot continue in the direction we are headed. It is time to make a change in leadership. Thank you for your continued support.
Please keep our campaign and the State of Illinois in your prayers. Mike Babcock
Businesses pay the price
July 19, 2012 - TheTelegraph.com
Happy new year. At least from a fiscal standpoint.
The new state budget year started July 1 for Illinois, bringing with it a clean slate, a balanced budget and the promise of a new fiscal responsibility.
Just kidding. The state actually started the new year with a stack of $7.5 billion to $8 billion worth of unpaid old bills.
Not exactly a confetti-and-streamers moment, even though it’s slightly better than last year, when $8.5 billion remained unpaid.
Before popping the cork on another bottle of Cristal in celebration of that oh-so-minor improvement, consider it’s a massive hike in personal and business income tax that trimmed the tab.
Even strapping the backs of the people already hurt by out-of-control spending barely nudged the crisis.
So now, thousands of groups and businesses across the state will have to wait even longer to be paid for services they provided for the state. Unfortunately, most of the businesses and groups have to follow the laws of reality and not Prairie State Mathematics. Their choice is to borrow money or cut staff to keep the budget balanced.
Don’t expect it to teach much of a lesson to the state, though.
Like the belligerent drunk at the party, the state has a tendency to keep on chugging, its elixir a blend of cash and the sweat of the working person. It doesn’t worry about the next morning, because the hangover is felt by the taxpayer.
We’ve said it so often within these pages — and others have heralded the same message — it almost seems a moot point: Illinois government has to end this perpetual cycle of overspending and taxing. It has to make some tough choices now, without respect for political clout or standing.
The fiscal mismanagement has been allowed to continue for decades and the current administration shows little interest in changing, as evidenced by Illinois being at the top of the pack of the five states with budget deficits. The deficit here of $43.8 billion is far above New Jersey, which is second at $33.4 billion. Even California — which tends to bear the brunt of jabs and jibes — is just $10.5 billion in the hole.
Gov. Pat Quinn continues to blame things outside of his control: A downturn in the economy and diminished revenues. see thetelegraph.com
July 12, 2012 - For Immediate Release
Bethalto – July 12, 2012 –Businessman Mike Babcock, the Republican candidate for State Senate in the 56th District, today applauded the Governor signing legislation eliminating Legislative Scholarships. The controversial scholarship program has for decades been the target of many calling for reform in Illinois state government. The program has recently been the target of a federal corruption probe. At least one Senator, Sen. Annazetta Collins (D-Chicago), has been subpoenaed by the FBI for improper awarding of the scholarships. Five scholarships were given to political supporters of Senator Collins where all five listed residency at her address despite having driver's licenses or registration at differing locations throughout Chicago.
"The scholarships are college tuition waivers all too often reserved, not for the needy or brightest students, but for the politically connected", said Babcock. According to Babcock it's not difficult to put two and two together and cited one example that he called "quite obvious". "My opponent, Bill Haine, granted tuition waivers to Brian Campion, son of former Godfey mayor, Mike Campion, to attend the University of Illinois". "Further research indicates that Mike Campion also donated to Haine's reelection campaign".
"Illinois is broke. It shouldn't take a federal investigation to eliminate a program that too often awards the politically connected at the expense of the taxpayers. I am pleased the General Assembly was able to undertake this reform. However, there is much to accomplish in order to get the Illinois' disastrous financial condition under control. It's time to cleanup Illinois and it is going to take new leadership to get it done." ###
Alton – May 16, 2012
Businessman Mike Babcock, the Republican candidate for State Senate in the 56th District, today called for an end to stipends paid by the state of Illinois to county wide elected officials.
“The State of Illinois is bankrupt and should end stipends paid to county wide elected officials immediately” said Babcock. “I don’t blame the elected officials who receive them. This is clearly the fault of leadership in Springfield by allowing officials who already earn more than $100,000 a year to receive even more on the backs of the taxpayer”.
The stipends were part of a discussion that occurred at the Madison County Board meeting on Wednesday evening. Among many items to be discussed on the agenda were potential pay raises for county wide elected officials and board members to be elected in November to four year terms of office. Raises for county wide elected officials passed by an 18 to 11 vote and raises for some county board members passed 16 to 13 margin
The Circuit Clerk, Auditor, Recorder of Deeds and Coroner currently earn $104,686 per year in addition to any stipends paid by the state. The recommendation proposed on Wednesday was for no increase in those salaries for two years and for increases of about 2 ½ % in 2014 and 2015 for salaries of $107,303 and $109,986 respectively.
County board member, Tom McRae, from Bethalto began the salary discussion by stating that, when considering salaries for elected officials their “total compensation should be considered”. He asked Board Chairman Allen Dunstan, whether or not the State of Illinois was “still paying stipends to some countywide elected officials in addition to their six figure salaries” and, if so, how much the stipends were and which officials received them. Both Dunstan and Madison County Administrator, Joe Parente, confirmed that some officials do receive the stipends but “weren’t sure” how much each official received. McRae said that he knew some of the stipends were “several thousand dollars” and were an important aspect of determining whether or not board members should approve any salary increases.
Neither County Clerk, Mark Von Nida nor County Auditor, Rick Faccin, seated next to Dunstan at the meeting and receive stipends from the state of Illinois in addition to their salaries of $104,686 offered any information regarding the stipends.
April 02, 2012 | BND.com
The candidates were just getting warmed up in the primary races.
The hard-fighting, big-money campaigns will soon be in full swing for the general election in November. One of the races that promises to be a bruiser pits incumbent state Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, against Bethalto Republican Mike Babcock.
Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, in a visit to the News-Democrat with Babcock, said the GOP views the race as a "tier 1" race, meaning it's a high priority for the party, and that Babcock will get financial backing from the party.
February 26, 2012 | StLouis.cbslocal.com
BETHALTO, Ill. (KMOX) - A candidate running for state senate in the Metro-East is expressing dismay over Sears announcing it'll close its Alton Square store and five others in Illinois.
Republican Mike Babcock of Bethalto says 40 to 80 jobs will be lost, locally. Babcock says the state gave Sears a $150 million tax break, a short time ago, to keep the company from moving its headquarters out of Illinois. more
September 20, 2011 | Riverbend.com
Wood River Township Supervisor Mike Babcock is seeking the Republican nomination for the Illinois Senate Seat currently held by Bill Haine of Alton. Babcock, of Bethalto, announced his intentions on Monday to run in the 56th District in 2012, and says the state is stuck in reverse and needs new leadership.
Babcock has been Wood River Township Supervisor since 2009, and has operated an insurance business in Glen Carbon for the last 18 years. He says he's proud of his work in cutting spending in the township, and has also refused government funded healthcare and also reduced his township salary earlier this year. However, he has been the target of a lawsuit by the Wood River Township Assessor over his cuts, saying she doesn't have enough in the budget to operate her office effectively. The 56th District covers portions of Madison, Jersey and St. Clair counties.
September 19, 2011 | by Will Buss @ BND.com
A Madison County insurance broker wants to change the fiscal culture in Springfield by running for the Illinois Senate.
Mike Babcock, 49, of Bethalto has announced he intends to run for the 56th District Senate seat currently held by Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton.
Babcock, a Republican, is currently working to gain enough signatures within the district to become a candidate and build "common-sense solutions" that will help lower taxes and create jobs, he said.
He said that in his opinion, Illinois politicians are spending too much, taxing too much and borrowing too much
"That's got to stop," Babcock said. "Someone has to stand up for little guy."
The proprietor of Babcock and Associates Insurance Agency in Glen Carbon is also an investment advisor and has worked in the insurance business since 1993. He was elected as Wood River Township supervisor in 2009 and said he has provided more cost-effective services to the public.
He said he has refused his taxpayer-funded health insurance and voluntarily reduced his 2011 salary by rejecting a trustee stipend.
Petitions to be placed on the ballot are due by December. The primary election is scheduled for March 2012.
September 19, 2011 | by Sanford J. Schmidt @ Telegraph.com
WOOD RIVER - Wood River Township Supervisor Mike Babcock announced Monday he is collecting signatures to get on the ballot in the Republican primary for the 56th Senate District seat now occupied by state Sen. William R. Haine, D-Alton.
If Babcock wins the Republican spot on the ballot, he is likely to face Haine in the November 2012 general election.
"I am running for the state Senate because our state is in terrible condition. The politicians in Springfield spend too much, tax too much and borrow too much. Simply put, we need a change," Babcock said.
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