WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Emphasis - January 13

Jan 13, 2012

Rich Egger's guest is State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb). They preview the Illinois legislature's 2012 session.

Lawmakers do not return to Springfield until January 30, which is later than normal. Hammond believes the legal battle over redistricting is part of the reason for the delay.

Hammond said the legislature must work to stabilize its finances. She pointed out Moody's lowered the state's credit rating late last week and Standard & Poor's has the state on a watch list.

Hammond remains opposed to borrowing money to pay off the state's backlog of bills. She believes the financial rating agencies also do not want the state to borrow its way out of debt.

"We have to address this by making cuts. It's not going to be easy and it's gonna have to hurt," Hammond said.

She said the state needs to work with the federal government to determine what cuts will be acceptable to the Medicaid program. She said some human service programs contain redundancies that could be cut in order to provide further savings.

Hammond also thinks it's wrong to give income tax breaks to big companies while requiring other businesses to pay the full amount.

"We need to come up with some structure that is more fair across the board," Hammond said.

In addition, she would like to see changes made to the state's worker compensation system.