Jacobs: Medicaid, pension reform would alleviate some of Illinois' financial pressures
Many candidates running for office in Illinois, including Paul Jacobs, understand the issue of high property taxes, but sometimes it seems like runaway taxes are such an emergency for the public budget that it crowds out almost all of the other issues.
A recent report from Illinois Policy Institute shows that during the seven years after the 2008 financial crash, property taxes in Illinois grew at a staggering six times the rate of household incomes.
Numbers like these make it very clear that the average taxpayer is facing an exponential burden, and those who are measuring state population statistics think this rising high watermark in taxes is causing individuals and businesses to move to neighboring states with lower taxes and more business-friendly policy.
"What's happening is, the state is shifting more and more of the burden to local governments," Jacobs told SW Illinois News Jan. 22. Jacobs is running against Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) in the 115th District.
For instance, Jacobs said his district will send over $30 million to Springfield as part of the 2017 tax increase of 32 percent in the new state budget. However, he said, municipalities will get less back from the state, in a vicious cycle that puts financial pressure on those he represents.
As for the major spike in property taxes, Jacobs said this type of policy is "not a real bright idea."
Instead, Jacobs described policies that he think would alleviate some of the financial pressure.
First, he said, pension reform is paramount.
Jacobs also mentioned the need to reform Medicaid and combat an estimated $35 billion nationwide in Medicaid fraud.
"If that fraud were controlled, it would be wonderful," Jacobs said. "It would go a long way toward fixing the problems that we have."
Jacobs called for a photo ID for Medicaid recipients to prevent fraud and prevent immigrants in the United States illegally from getting coverage.
He also suggested drug testing as a prerequisite to ongoing government assistance.