Illinois State House Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) on the House floor
State Republican Floor Leader Rep. Mark Batinick (Plainfield) views the rising number of state residents now receiving Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits as a complete indictment of Springfield’s political system.
“It tells you what we’re doing isn’t working and the way we’re trying to solve problems is a complete failure,” Batinick told the Will County Gazette. “We need everything from better schools to better regulations, just a combination of a whole lot of policy things that we’re getting wrong right now.”
A new Illinois Policy Institute report details that since the end of the recession, Illinois tops all neighboring states for the highest percentage of residents now receiving SNAP benefits, or food stamps. At 13.63 percent, the state only trails Pennsylvania (13.64 percent) for highest overall percentage in the country. In addition, during the last eight years, the total number of individuals receiving food stamps in Illinois has climbed by 2.3 percent, with all of the increase coming at the same time that Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin have all experienced enrollment decreases.
With even more regulations and recently passed legislation like the state’s new $15-per-hour minimum wage law, Batinick fears things could get worse before they get better.
“Instead of doing the hard work of enacting good policy that’s needed to create good jobs, we have too many people in Springfield that just want to wave a magic wand and have them be there,” Batinick said. “We have to create an environment for businesses and jobs to flourish organically. For that, everything - from our regulatory climate, to workman’s compensation laws, to how long it takes to get a permit for things - needs to improve. We need to put an end to this hostile business climate, and that pretty much means revamping everything.”