Bill would have translated into huge waste of money, radio host says
A Democrat-proposed $1.5 million translation bill that was shot down after Republican lawmakers pointed out the service can be done for free illustrates how casually state representatives spend money, the co-host of a Chicago-based radio talk show said during a recent broadcast.
Pat Hughes told Illinois Rising co-host Dan Proft that such spending would be inexcusable when Illinois is more than $200 billion in debt and has only $35 billion in assets.
“And if we took on that debt to do good things for people, like if social services provided were good, if our education was good, if we went into debt for good things, that would be bad, but at least you could say, ‘Well, at least we got something,’ ” Hughes said. “This is $200 billion in debt for nothing.”
The Illinois Translation Bill, HB 695, sponsored by state Rep. Robert Martwick (D-Chicago), would have paid to translate the state's General Assembly website from English to Spanish. Consideration of the bill was postponed shortly after Republican lawmakers Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) and Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) pointed out that Google Translator can do the job for nothing.
"Two things are going on here, beyond the hilarity of what just happened," Hughes said. "Batinick and Wheeler just saved the state of Illinois, at least temporarily, the possibility about discussing blowing $1.5 million. The second thing is how $1.5 million, which is an enormous amount of money, to these legislators is throw-around money. They're looking for ways to spend $1.5 million on things that are meaningless. Instead of saying, ‘Hey, why in the world would we do that when we could do this for free?’ It's the mentality; it's the culture; it's the thought process that believes that $1.5 million to be $10.5 million and then $100 million and then $35 billion."
That way of thinking isn't new in Springfield, Proft said.
"This is another great example of the noblemen and magistrates we have representing us in state government here in Illinois," he said.
Proft and Hughes are co-founders of the Illinois Opportunity Project. Proft also is Liberty Principles PAC chairperson and treasurer, as well as a senior fellow at the Chicago-based conservative think-tank Illinois Policy Institute. Illinois Rising is a presentation of the Illinois Policy Institute.