Metro-East News

Illinoisans want term limits, redistricting and ‘lockbox’ on road funds

News-Democrat

A new poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale finds strong support for a proposal to put a ‘lockbox’ on funds for road work.
A new poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale finds strong support for a proposal to put a ‘lockbox’ on funds for road work. dholtmann@bnd.com

Illinoisans want road money to go toward only road work, they want term limits for state lawmakers and they want redistricting.

Those are the findings of a new poll conducted by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Likely voters in Illinois overwhelmingly support a proposed state constitutional amendment requiring gas taxes be spent only on road projects, according to the poll.

The survey also shows massive support for term limits and for having an independent commission draw legislative district lines instead of state lawmakers.

“The massive support for these three measures is evidence of just how upset Illinois voters are with the way things are done in Springfield,” said David Yepsen, the director of the Simon Institute.

The sample of 865 likely voters was taken Sept. 27 through Oct. 2 and has a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points.

From a press release from the Simon Institute:

There are 80 percent of likely voters who support what’s been dubbed the “lockbox” amendment requiring that gas taxes, tolls and license fees be dedicated to roads, bridges and other transportation projects. Only 13 percent oppose it, and the rest are undecided.

Supporters argue state policy makers have sometimes shifted these dollars to non-transportation projects over the years, taking dollars from needed infrastructure projects. Opponents contend leaders need to have flexibility in the way they manage state finances and meet all the priorities they face.

Support is strongest downstate, where 87 percent support the measure. Seventy-eight percent support the measure in the Chicagoland suburbs and 73 percent in Chicago.

While term limits for legislators aren’t on the November ballot, they are on the hearts of voters. There are over 80 percent who favor a constitutional amendment limiting the number of terms a state representative or state senator can serve. There are 17 percent opposed. Gov. Bruce Rauner is pressing lawmakers to act.

Recently, the state Supreme Court ruled that an amendment establishing an independent commission to draw legislative district lines was unconstitutional. However, 72 percent of likely voters support that idea, while 18 percent are opposed.

The Simon Institute has been polling on this question since 2010 and the support for redistricting reform this year is at a record high.

  Comments