FILE - Illinois State Capitol
The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois.John Spataro | Illinois News Network

ILLINOIS NEWS NETWORK

More than 200 new laws will go into effect in Illinois in the new year, but do any of them deal with the major fiscal problems the state’s been struggling with for years?

For most of 2017, state Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, didn’t vote for legislation that wasn’t going to solve some of the major issues facing the state.

“We passed bills that talk about things like how we label fish on a menu,” Batinick said. “I think we named two expressways after former President [Barack] Obama. We debated whether or not you need to paint a school bus after you sell it on the used market. But we didn’t address pensions. We didn’t do anything good for work comp. We didn’t do anything good for property taxes.”

Illinois has more than $200 billion in unfunded pension and retiree healthcare liability. The state also has some of the highest property taxes in the country and he highest workers’ compensation rates in the Midwest.

Batinick also noted Illinois’ regulatory climate is horrible and used hydraulic fracturing permitting as an example.

“We finally gave away our first permit, and the regulatory climate was still so bad that the company just walked away from it,” Batinick said.

Batinick doesn’t expect the legislature to tackle any of this until after the November elections.

“We already blew three years of [the Rauner] administration,” Batinick said. “And you can say we blew years before that, so every day that passes makes it harder for us to dig out of a deeper pile of debt.”

The suburban lawmaker hopes that, after the election, both sides can come together to tackle the state’s major issues.

The General Assembly is back in session in late January.