Units of government need to run like a business, Jameson says
Doug Jameson wishes certain aspects of state government were run more like a business.
“You need to know the health of your government just like you do your business,” Jameson told the Metro East Sun. “With all the trouble we’re having across the state with all the debt, we need to know the health of things.”
The Local Government Bankruptcy Neutral Evaluation Act proposed by Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) purports to do just that, along with giving cash-strapped cities across the state the chance to dig themselves out from under all their debt by authorizing “a local public entity to initiate a neutral evaluation process if that entity is unable to meet its financial obligations.”
House Bill 5644 comes on the heels of the city of Harvey having its tax revenues garnished due to growing pension liabilities. By Ives estimation, at least 20 other cities find themselves in similar straits and could soon face the same fate without an immediate financial restructuring.
In every case, she adds, most of the distress has been caused by rising pension obligations. Harvey alone is reported to be tens of millions of dollars in debt in unfunded pension payments.
“Government is different from the private sector in that it should not be in the business of risk,” added Jameson, a Belleville Republican challenging Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea) in the 113th District. "We need our units of governments to be more fiscally responsible and living within their means."
Jameson said the only chance at starting to get things back on track is by doing things like placing new workers in systems like self-managed and 401(k)-style pension plans.
“That could at least change the trajectory,” he said. “In business, the first rule of getting yourself out of a hole is to stop the digging.”
Jameson said his plan would also see other, longer-term, mid-tier workers steered toward a graduated transition plan.
“We’re at the point where there isn’t much choice,” he said. “As the number of obligations states face grows, the revenue imbalance only widens.”
The 113th House District includes all or parts of Belleville, Swansea, Fairview Heights, Washington Park, Fairmont City, Caseyville, Madison and Granite City.