On Thursday, an ongoing effort by State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) to sell the state fleet of aircraft was blocked by House Democrats on the floor of the Illinois House of Representatives.
Representative Mitchell is chief sponsor of House Bill 28, which would sell the state fleet of aircraft (except for those aircraft designated for emergency use). Mitchell made a motion on the House floor Thursday to discharge HB 28 from the Rules Committee for consideration by the full House of Representatives. In a partisan parliamentary ruling, Democrats blocked Mitchellâs effort to move his legislation forward.
âWeâre spending $7 million a year to fly the Governor and other top officials back and forth from Chicago to Springfield,â Mitchell said. âMeanwhile, we owe our schools, hospitals and other providers over $9 billion. Weâre closing facilities around the state, yet our elected officials are being treated like monarchs. The fact is Illinois is broke. These flights are a waste of taxpayer dollars.â
The State of Illinois maintains a fleet of sixteen aircraft, including six executive aircraft, worth an estimated $22 million. In Fiscal Year 2012, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) spent more than $7 million to maintain the Stateâs $22 million fleet of aircraft. IDOT has spent $18.5 million over the last three years to operate the fleet. Costs have gone up by more than 27 percent.