State Representative David Reis (R-Ste. Marie) has introduced multiple pieces of legislation with the goal of rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse in Illinois' entitlement systems. As the Illinois General Assembly begins its work in Springfield later this month, Reis says he is focusing hard on finding places to cut the budget and improve efficiencies.
"With the new session approaching, I want to focus on where Illinois can shrink government spending," Reis said. "We have to live within our means in this state. To me, a logical place to begin is with entitlement reform. A lot of politicians pay lip service to the concept of eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse, but I have introduced specific policy proposals that could start saving our State money right away." Reis is offering three specific proposals he says will result in savings for Illinois taxpayers. HB 4180 would require drug testing for individuals applying for welfare benefits.
HB 4181 would require the name and photo of the primary cardholder to be on an Illinois LINK card and, at the option of the primary cardholder, the names of secondary holders who are authorized to use the card. It establishes that an individual may only use the LINK card if the photo on the card matches the user or he or she presents a current and valid photo identification that confirms that he or she is a secondary user listed on the card.
Another proposal, HB 4182, would bar illegal immigrants from taking part in entitlement programs. These include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), the Children's Health Insurance Program, ALL KIDS Health Insurance program, TANF, and the medical assistance program.
Reis says the concepts of drug testing welfare recipients, requiring photo IDs either on Link cards or presenting ID in order to use one, and stopping illegal immigrants from collecting state entitlement benefits have come up before in Springfield, only to be shot down by 40-year Speaker of the House Mike Madigan. "I have introduced reforms to Medicaid and other entitlement programs before, only to have Mike Madigan turn a thumbs down because he wants to protect Chicago," Reis said. "The truth is, the legislative package I have introduced will save Illinois taxpayers significant dollars on entitlement program spending. I urge Speaker Madigan and the rest of my colleagues in Springfield to take the problem of exploding entitlement spending seriously and to advance these important cost saving measures when we return to Session later this month."