Sunday, December 30, 2007

"Don't Gamble on Illinois' Future," by Andy Martin

“He works for
the People of Illinois”
Republican for U. S. Senator
Suite 4406
30 E. Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60611-4723
(312) 440-4124


A New Year's message from Andy Martin


(CHICAGO)(January 1, 2008) I am a candidate for the United States Senate. As such, during the course of campaigning I try to restrict my campaign activity to "national" issues that I would be called on to deal with as a senator. I am not running for the Illinois General Assembly nor do I propose to tell our state legislators how to vote.

Nevertheless, one issue which is under consideration by the General Assembly is of such critical importance to the future of our state that I feel compelled to make my personal views known, and strongly:

Don't Gamble on Illinois' Future by Expanding Gambling.

Democrats and Republicans are debating, considering, negotiating and horse trading whether to expand gambling in Illinois as a means of rebuilding mass transit and rebuilding our road system. Rebuilding both our dilapidated mass transit system and rebuilding our decayed and deteriorated highway system are essential. But gambling is not the way to fund these critical government operations.

First, we need honest and mature leadership in Springfield, if that is possible. We need leaders who will tell the People of Illinois what we don’t want to hear.

We have been underinvesting in our road and transit systems for so long that they now need massive investment just to get them operational again. Someone who drives on our state's highways should not be risking their life. Likewise, riding the CTA, Metra or PACE should not impose a death sentence on the unlucky traveler caught in a breakdown.

The actions of our leaders have been scandalous. I have filed a lawsuit against the CTA/RTA to ban "funny money" bookkeeping. They have been making payroll out of capital funding accounts. Business executives would go to jail for such legerdemain. So should RTA/CTA officials who engage in similar deceptive behavior.

And so, initially, we need to admit to ourselves that our leaders have been deceiving us about the true cost of a decent highway program and decent mass transit. They have been promising something-for-nothing and we have been only too eager to believe these false representations. Good government, good roads, good transit all cost money. We have not been paying the bill, and the deferred bill can no longer be ignored or delayed any further.

Secondly, we can avoid new taxes and new debt if we work together to expand economic opportunity in Illinois. Instead of raising taxes, let's try to raise the amount of tax revenue we generate through productive economic activity. Proposals for ruinous tax increases on business do not create the kind of investment climate we need. We scare away new businesses, new investments, and new jobs with such vindictive legislation.

Likewise, suggestions that we can afford to offer socialized medicine to everyone in Illinois who needs more medical care are similar pie-in-the-sky proposals. I will do my best to deal with health care at the national level. That's going to be my job, and I will succeed. It is not a job for local legislators or governors. Merely labeling discretionary social welfare programs as "rights" does not convert lead into gold. The gold is missing.

As our U. S. Senator I will do my best to see we get a fair slice of the federal pie. But I can't promise relief overnight. I can't promise to secure funding for programs in Illinois that other senators also want for their states, until we enact national policies. So we are back where we must of necessity begin, having to pay our own way and having to decide what our priorities will be. The reality is we don’t have money for frills, because we have past due bills to pay for the basics.

Gambling is a seductive option. But it is also an inefficient and immoral one.

Gambling encourages spending by those who can least afford it. Back in the 1980's I helped file one of the first "gambling addiction" lawsuits that identified gambling as an addictive activity. I do not gamble but I am very familiar with the evils that it fosters: organized crime, prostitution and other similar calamities for our communities. And destitution. The last thing we need to do is encourage more addictive activity by either our own citizens or visitors to Illinois.

Gambling also has a moral dimension. I find it abhorrent that we are trying to encourage people to "gamble" as a means of achieving the basics of life that we should be working together to provide through economic opportunity: through better education, better jobs and a better economic environment for business. Illinoisans are capable of greatness, great opportunities, great energies and great potential, all among our citizens. Let’s strive for greatness, and unlock and unleash our potential to build a future without resort to gambling and all of the evils that accompany that activity.

In the short run, relying on gambling as a way of financing basic public services in our state is a losing gamble. In the long run, relying on fanciful funding for basic public services is a prescription for disaster and social decay.

For the sake of our children and grandchildren, and for our own sake and self-respect, I implore Illinois legislative leaders to work together to solve our problems without resort to expanded gambling in Illinois.

I want to restore Illinois to greatness, and to our rightful place at the center of this great nation; the General Assembly will be diminishing our future if it chooses gambling as a solution to our problems. Honesty, integrity and mature, adult leadership are essential to rebuilding and building a great Illinois. Vote NO on new gambling.

Andy Martin

© Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Chicago-based Martin holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law. Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (312) 440-4124. Web site:

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