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Local News

Lawmaker: 'Harsh reality' faces state

Yingling opposes tax hike, but says little about spending cuts

Legislators last month voted for a compromise budget bill that lets stand – for now – the rollback of the 2011 tax increase but does not cut spending.

"I voted for it. It was a middle-of-the-road budget," Rep. Sam Yingling, D-Grayslake, said.

One that will likely delay the tough decisions until after the November election.

Sound familiar? That's exactly what happened four years ago when lawmakers increased the state's flat income tax by 67 percent in a lame-duck session after the election.

"I was always firmly against the tax increase," said Yingling, a former Avon Township supervisor who became a state lawmaker last year.

Asked what the state should do to offset the loss in revenue, Yingling said schools should be a last resort for cuts. Rather, he would target the Department of Central Management Services, which provides a number of services to state agencies, including oversight of property.

"I sit on the general services appropriations committee, and I see an enormous amount of bureaucracy that could be cut back," Yingling said. "CMS is bloated. It spends millions and millions of dollars it doesn't need to spend. CMS should be eliminated."

Still, he concedes that's not enough to fill the budget hole.

"The reality of the situation is harsh," he said. "The state has been living beyond its means for far too long. Tough decisions will have to be made."

He was careful to not speak ill of powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan, who has long called the shots in the House.

"I don't have much involvement with him," Yingling said in an interview.

Asked about Madigan's performance, Yingling replied, "There is always room for improvement."

What if Madigan faces competition for the speaker's post next year?

"I'm glad to evaluate whoever throws their name into the ring," Yingling said.

Yingling's 62nd District includes Grayslake, Hainesville, Wauconda and the Round Lake area.

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