Edwardsville mayor wants Senate seat to stop state overspending
One Illinois Senate candidate sees the state's tax problems are evidence of its overspending.
“The state has a serious budget problem that is going to have to be addressed," Hal Patton told the Metro East Sun. “I believe we have chosen to fund too many projects, too many things. As a business owner, there are a lot of things I want, but I only get what I absolutely need for the practice to be successful.”
Patton, who is running to replace retiring Sen. Bill Haine (D-Alton) in the 56th District, says state government needs to operate according to common-sense practices that would apply to any individual or family.
“Just like everybody in their home, you can't spend more than you bring in," he said. "If you do, you have to borrow. If you plan on borrowing, you have to have a mindset and a method to pay that borrowing back. Illinois has for too long gone after the wants without the means to pay for those, so it has run up a huge deficit.
"State government needs to take a look at that and get it back to a situation where we only buy the things that we can afford.”
Patton, the mayor of Edwardsville, said he has kept local taxes low.
“I have been able to hold the amount of tax that people pay to the city steady for the last four years while we continue to add new roads and add new public safety structures and other park amenities,” he said. “We have grown the community. We have added new construction. We have added new businesses. A lot of people are adding on and remodeling their homes.
“As those things happen, you have a higher EAV [equalized assessed value], a higher value yearly. So we have actually lowered our rate. Rate is what you apply to that EAV so you actually get your levy, which you need to operate government.”
He also disagrees with many who say high taxes are the main factor driving residents from the state.
“People don't feel comfortable staying in Illinois when there aren't solutions to the big problems, which are the pension deficit and just the functionality of having an unbalanced budget or no budget for almost two years," Patton said. "That has a huge impact on business, and it has a huge impact on people that are trying to have quality of life in this state.”
While contending that it's too early to get in details, Patton said he has specific plans to change things if he is elected.
“I certainly have some concepts where I see waste and where I see things could be more efficient,” Patton said. “It is going to require some cutting. It is going to require some very uncomfortable decisions. You come to the reality we have to face this debt, and we have to change our systems so we are not spending as much as we are spending.”
The 56th District covers O’Fallon, Collinsville, Edwardsville, Wood River, Alton and Godfrey.