VALORIE EVERSOLE - Daily Union Reporter
SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
Newly seated State Senator Chapin Rose met with local and county officials Wednesday evening in an informal setting at Monical’s.
Rose, who spent the last 10 years as a state representative, was elected State Senator for the new 51st District which includes all of Shelby County. Rose is making his way around the 10-county district, visiting schools, hospital, and officials.
“My biggest concern is geography,” Rose said referring to his district. “It runs from the Indiana line, up to Bloomington and south through Shelby County. We are trying to get around and be around.”
Rose heard concerns about proposed power lines that would cut through the county.
Rose noted that the power company bringing the power from Kansas to New Jersey “is not going through the normal commerce commission process.”
“It is an expedited process and we’re trying to figure out a way to slow this thing down,” Rose said.
“I have serious question whether they should be coming through Illinois. They are shipping power across the state lines and billing us for it,” he added.
Issues of decreased state aid to schools and the pension system for teachers and other state workers were raised.
Rose said that the State is trying to recover from actions made during the Blagojevich administration. He cited that when the State skipped some pension payments to save money, but in fact created a bigger problem as it is trying to make those payments with interest.
In attracting jobs to the state, Rose said, “Against other states, we are well out of the norm.”
Rose blamed Blagojevich’s inaction to companies looking at locating in Illinois for the loss of job opportunities in the state.
“Quinn has been better about contacting interested businesses. I may not agree with Quinn all the time, but I give him kudos for that.”
Rose said that he supports community colleges and that they are the key to getting jobs.
“You invest two years and $5,000 and you can get a good job with benefits,” Rose said.
When asked how the State can pay out grant money but is not able to pay its bills, Rose explained that two different budgets are involved.
Grant money, such as capital improvement grants, is funded through bonds and cannot be spent on current accounts. The operating budget pays Medicare and pensions as well as other state bills.
“About half the operating budget is Medicare and pensions. The budget is getting balanced and the bills are getting paid, but the pension increases negates the progress. The negotiators have to decide what they can live with in their pensions,” Rose said.
In responding to the Eagle Creek resort issue, Rose said that he wants to work with the Department of Natural Resources and other involved parties to help the progression toward reopening.
Rose added that he and Representative Adam Brown are working with the Shelby County Farm Bureau to set up a satellite office in Shelby County to be accessible. They will also have traveling office hours throughout the district.