House candidate Kessem critical of Illinois budget bill, taxes
In going door-to-door for her campaign for Illinois House District 19 against Rep. Robert Martwick (D-Chicago), Amelia Kessem has heard many concerns from residents about high taxes.
Kessem told North Cook News about her reaction to a new study by the nonprofit group Truth in Accounting that found Illinois residents face the second-highest tax burdens per capita in the entire country after residents of New Jersey.
“I agree with the statement this article made about why citizens are moving out of Illinois in droves,” Kessem said, lamenting the flight of people and businesses in response to mounting taxes. “They see the writing on the wall.”
Kessem blasted the Illinois budget bill passed this summer, which she said does not have significant changes to handle the state's financial problems.
“I don't really care whether this was caused by Democrats or Republicans because I actually have both supporting me in my campaign,” Kessem said. “That said, when you look at this graph, I think it's obvious that there was a lack of checks and balances that played some role into why we are at where we are at now.”
Kessem pointed to legislative efforts in 1994 that she characterized as bipartisan. These initiatives, she said, were supposed to generate a consistent funding plan for the state's pension system. However, a series of “pension holidays” that began in 2003 and were initiated by Democratic leaders have kept this critical funding from occurring, she said.
“They’ve continued to divert the funds ever since,” Kessem said. “This is just one example of the failures that plague Illinois, and there is one person that we can definitely point the finger at - Mike Madigan - and those individuals like Robert Martwick who continue to follow his marching orders.”
After serving on the Chicago police force for many years, Kessem is running in a district that includes parts of Chicago and Harwood Heights.