Budget 'shell game' to cost state $1.5 billion, 22,000 jobs, Caulkins says
Dan Caulkins is increasingly concerned about a provision in the state’s 2018 fiscal year budget he fears could cause taxpayers as much as $1.5 billion.
Beyond the massive costs, Caulkins, who recently launched his campaign against Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) in the 101st District, said in a release the plan that diverts $300 million annually from the Illinois road fund could cost the state over 22,000 jobs.
Caulkins points the finger of blame squarely at House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) and Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), who he charges diverted the road fund money to pay for Chicago Regional Transit Authority (RTA) bonds.
"This is another example of dishonest budgeting and the shell-game being played in Springfield by the insiders and Chicago machine,” Caulkins said in the release. “It's one of the things that's motivated me to run for office, and I will do everything in my power to expose and prevent this practice when I'm your state representative."
According to Caulkins, it’s not the first time that road funds have been diverted. He points out that the Transportation for Illinois Coalition estimated that a staggering $6.8 billion meant for roads and similar projects were diverted to other causes over a 13-year period beginning in 2003.
Given the way the U.S. Department of Transportation, which covers up to 80 percent of the states’ highway project costs, requires that the state initially foot the bill for all projects, Caulkins said the stakes now could be even higher.
“If we kept this $300 million in the road fund, where it was designated, and utilizing the U.S. Department of Transportation reimbursement program, the State of Illinois could have turned those funds into over $1.5 billion for road repairs, which is over 1,000 miles of road repairs and 22,000 jobs,” he said in the release.