Topinka starts rolling out details. From a press release:
Republican nominee for Governor Judy Baar Topinka today outlined a series of dramatic budget cutting measures that will save state taxpayers more than $3.7 Billion over the next four years.
Illinois has an enormous budget problem. A recent independent report analyzing all 50 states concluded that Illinois has the worst fiscal health in the nation â€“ with a deficit of $3 billion dollars. Even State Comptroller Dan Hynes â€“ a Democrat — says Illinoisâ€™ backlog of unpaid bills is at an all-time high. Illinois is in that bad of fiscal shape, even though Blagojevich raided more than $2.2 billion from pension funds and borrowed more money than any Governor in Illinois history. […]
Cutting Political Jobs and Contracts with Blagojevich Campaign Contributors […]
A new report this week in the State Journal Register showed Illinois political jobs have doubled under Rod Blagojevich. The number has increased from 396 to 745. By cutting back those jobs to at least the pre-Rod Blagojevich levels, Illinois state taxpayers can save $25 million a year or $100 million over four years.
Political contributors to Rod Blagojevich have received $3 billion in no-bid contracts after contributing a total of $5 million to Blagojevichâ€™s campaign. We will wring out a 10% percent savings on that number by eliminating unnecessary contracts and those that are simply bloated. This will save us $75 million per year or $300 million over four years.
Slowing the Skyrocketing Costs to Taxpayers through Medicaid Reform
For the first time this year, Illinois will spend more on Medicaid than on Education.
At this pace, in two decades Medicaid will eat up 80% of the state budget. The state must slow the growth of the program that is eating up taxpayers dollars, but we must do it through better management.
Federal Block Grant for Medicaid
Topinkaâ€™s Medicaid reform Plan will better control taxpayer costs by pursuing a Federal Block Grant for Medicaid. It will eliminate incentives to spend more tax dollars while increasing flexibility and providing a stable revenue stream.
The costs of this program are growing so quickly that significant taxpayer dollars will be saved â€“ just by curbing the growth of the program.
New â€œHealthy Babiesâ€ Campaign
Using technology to merge the Women, Infants and Children program with the Stateâ€™s Medicaid program will introduce Medicaid eligible women to WIC services that can prevent unhealthy births. The state should focus like a laser on this issue. […]
Unfortunately, the State of Illinois is relying on outdated technology that does not merge the Women, Infants and Children Program data system with the stateâ€™s Medicaid data system. This is unconscionable in todayâ€™s society. Many unhealthy births â€“ and their exorbitant emotional and financial toll â€“ can be avoided through an upgrade of the stateâ€™s technology in these areas.
Judy Baar Topinka will take the appropriate action to stop unhealthy births by upgrading this technology through a new â€œHealthy Babiesâ€ Campaign.
Topinkaâ€™s plan also provides for:
* Paying providers on a timely schedule.
* Tightening up guidelines to ensure resources are available for those who are eligible.
* Encouraging personal responsibility through reasonable co-payments.
* Establishing a Medicaid Reform Task Force on her first day in office to determine how to precisely restructure our Medicaid plan.
* Follow in the footsteps of Floridaâ€”a state that is making their Medicaid system look more like private insurance than a government program.
Overall, this approach will slow the astronomical growth of Medicaid costs and will save taxpayers $2.9 Billion â€“ with a B â€“ over four years. […]
Every individual who is currently eligible for Illinoisâ€™ Medicaid Program will remain eligible under the Topinka Plan â€“ with the one exception of those whose financial assets are too large to qualify under an established asset test for Medicaid eligibility. Illinois lags other states that have already established asset tests for Medicaid eligibility. […]
Topinka has proposed a constitutional amendment called â€œSeven Days of Sunshineâ€ that would require the state budget be available to the media and the public for seven days prior to being passed to the Governor. Itâ€™s the taxpayers money â€“ they deserve to see how itâ€™s spent.
Topinka said she will not approve a budget that doesnâ€™t line item how projects will be spent, and will end massive lump sum appropriations that are huge blocks of money with no strings attached.
Estimates of pork in the budget range from $100 million to $500 million. I am taking the most conservative estimate and estimating $100 million in savings per year or $400 million over four years.
In total, Topinkaâ€™s Common Sense Budget Cuts will save Illinois taxpayers $3.7 billion over four years.