Smolenski doesn't rule out bankruptcy for ailing municipalities
When it comes to dealing with Illinois’ growing financial woes, Marilyn Smolenski concedes that desperate times may require desperate measures.
“While I agree that bankruptcy should be the absolute last resort for a municipality, it would allow them to restructure their debt,” Smolenski told the North Cook News. “In turn, bringing their spending in line with their actual revenue without the loss of critical services or raising property taxes.”
Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) recently proposed legislation aimed at creating the Local Government Bankruptcy Neutral Evaluation Act, a measure that “authorizes a local public entity to initiate a neutral evaluation process if that entity is unable to meet its financial obligations.”
In presenting House Bill 5644, Ives estimated that there are at least 20 Illinois cities that are in need of immediate financial restructuring to avoid going under or having their tax revenues garnished due to rising pension liability, similar to what recently happened to the City of Harvey.
“This has been a subject of heated debate for years,” said Smolenski, a Park Ridge Republican and Women of Park Ridge board member running against Rep. Marty Moylan (D-Des Plaines) in House District 55. “What’s happening in Harvey has definitely reignited that dialogue.”
Running on a campaign slogan of “Fighting for Our Families and Homes,” Smolenski has vowed to give voice to her constituents by standing up to longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago).
In contrast, she points out Moylan has been a vocal supporter of his and voted for him as speaker. Smolenski is also on record as backing term limits.
Smolenski first announced her candidacy in September, telling the Chicago Tribune part of her motivation was the fact that Moylan otherwise would have been running unopposed.
"I felt people in our district really deserved to have representation," she told the Tribune.
The 55th District includes Park Ridge, Des Plaines, Elk Grove Village, Arlington Heights and Chicago's Northwest Side.