The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Andrew "Drew" Postle, son of Mr. and Mrs. Scott Postle of Stronghurst was awarded a $600 college scholarship from the Henderson County Republican Women's Club and Henderson County Republican Central Committee.
Andrew graduated this year from West Central High School and plans to attend the University of Illinois and major in Business.
In order to qualify for the scholarship the applicant must be a Henderson County resident and a senior in high school. The applicant must complete an application, provide a copy of their school transcript and submit an essay of 500 words or less on the topic provided in the application.
This year's essay topic was: "If you were elected governor of the state of Illinois how would you balance the budget and stimulate the economy?" The judging was done by an independent group outside the county. The following is Andew's winning essay entitled "Back in Black."
by Drew Postle - Stronghurst
West Central Graduate Class of 2010
The state of Illinois is facing a budget crisis. The budget deficit is nearing thirteen billion dollars, and changes need to be made fast to get the state out of this hole.
Many things are going to have to change if Illinois is going to get out of this mess.
Lawmakers are going to have to do what is best for the people of Illinois, not what's best for their political careers.
If I was governor I would fix Illinois' budget deficit by raising taxes, funding cuts and fixing the state's pension problem.
There is really no way to get around a tax hike. I would raise taxes on things such as alcohol and cigarettes. Income tax and sales tax would also have to be raised to get the state out of this big hole.
I would also restore the tax on casinos back to seventy percent from the fifty percent it is now.
Tax increases are not the only thing that is going to get us out of this debt; cuts in funding will also have to be made.
State funding will have to be cut down, but money needs to be taken out of the right programs.
The state could possibly look into a four day school week to help cut back on some costs.
Cuts should not be made on the education system other than that. A weak education system will hurt the future generations. In the long run it will hurt the state even more.
I would also cut programs that are out dated like vehicle-emissions testing centers; cars today are more environmentally friendly than in years past.
Other programs that are outdated should be trimmed so that the money can go to more needed areas.
Illinois' pension plan also needs revamped. Under the current law ninety percent of the pension must be funded by 2045.
The pension system needs to be fixed if Illinois is ever going to get out of this hole.
Other reforms like the one that was passed in March, which make legislators and judges wait until they are sixty-seven to draw pension and cut the pension from eighty-five to sixty percent of their salary, need to be made before the state can get back on track.
The solution to Illinois' budget deficit is not an easy one. It will take many years to get out of this hole. It will not happen over night.
If I was governor of Illinois, I would start making changes and reforms as soon as possible.
The more time that we wait the bigger the hole is going to get.
But these three steps, tax increases, cuts in funding and pension reform, are things that will need to be done to solve this huge problem to get Illinois back in black.