Elmhurst, Illinois – In response to Channel 7 investigative reporter Chuck Goudie’s report last night concerning the cost of operating the state fleet of 16 aircraft, Republican candidate for Governor Adam Andrzejewski says he would ground the aircraft, and then sell the $22 million fleet with the exception of the two helicopters and specific planes used by the Illinois State Police. (Story Online at http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/iteam&id=7126679 )
Andrzejewski re-emphasized his plan to conduct a forensic audit of the state’s expenses. He pointed out that Channel 7’s report indicated that state employees are using the planes regularly at a cost of $3,000 per hour totaling $4 million per year.
“While the state wasn't paying social service providers, which in turn, forced them to lay off staff and cost the state jobs, these planes were flying,” he said. “Illinois is in a budget crisis, and our state leadership is needlessly spending tax payer dollars. How many more millions of unnecessary spending would a forensic audit of expenses reveal?”
Andrzejewski also made reference to a recent article in the Peoria Journal Star in which Governor Quinn was asked about Illinois’ $13.2 billion budget gap for fiscal year 2010 placing it among the top three in the country. The ranking came from The Pew Center on the States report which cited Illinois for a lack of fiscal discipline to balance the state budget. Quinn’s response was "I think we've done pretty well. We've stabilized the budget. We have a long way to go, but we're not California."
Andrzejewski recalled a conversation he had with senior GOP leaders at the United Republican Fund Anniversary Gala at the Hilton Chicago Hotel. “I mentioned to those at my table that I thought we should stop using the fleet so excessively and ground the planes. To my dismay, the leaders at my table were firmly resistant to the idea.”
As governor, part of Andrzejewski’s plan for reform will bring the top-down transparency mandate by executive order to open up the books in Springfield. His second executive order would be a forensic top-to-bottom audit of state spending. The estimated savings of such measures would be $3-$5 billion!