Rauschenberger calls out Noland for campaign ads
State Sen. Michael Noland is being criticized for what his Republican opponent says are exaggerations about legislation passage, job creation and construction funding, included in two mailers.
Steve Rauschenberger, an Elgin Republican trying to reclaim the seat he held for 14 years, says his opponent is trying to "confuse the issues" with the mailers.
Noland says it's splitting hairs, all part of what he calls a calculated attack by Illinois Republicans, trying to create "frustration and chaos" before the Nov. 2. election.
The first, a flier paid for by Citizens for Noland, boasts that the Elgin Democrat is committed to "public service that gets results" and that he has effected change in three major areas - creating jobs, achieving ethics reform and fighting for tax relief.
Noland's achievements are listed in bullet points under each area, with a notation made to legislation where he served as a chief sponsor.
Under the "creating jobs" section, Noland notes he is the chief sponsor of legislation providing microloans to small businesses.
The senator did sponsor the legislation, which passed the Senate but was then amended in the House, deleting all language dealing with the microloans, a fact Noland acknowledged when asked about the issue.
The flier also boasts "$40 million and 500 jobs for Harper College" in cooperation with local businesses, and "$18 million and 300 jobs for lifesaving access to St. Alexius Hospital at the I-90 interchange and Barrington Road." Both projects are contained within the 2009 capital bill, of which Noland is not listed as a chief sponsor.
Phil Burdick, Harper College spokesman, said that Noland, along with Senate President John Cullerton, did help to get Harper's Engineering and Technology Center renovations on the capital funding list, but the project is still unfunded and unscheduled.
Like the Harper project, the interchange project is on the capital funding list, but because funding has not been secured, the project has not yet begun.
Rauschenberger held the 22nd Senate seat from 1992 to 2006, before vacating it to run for lieutenant governor, a bid which he lost. A former Senate appropriations committee chair, he said there is a major difference between funding being appropriated and granted to specific projects.
"Historically, the governor and legislators wait until they actually have money to release before they 'claim' projects. Given the current state budget situation, ... there is significant risk that these projects may never be funded," he said.
Noland said the claims are "not misleading at all. Because these (projects) are so far along. These tasks are all but complete. We just need, because of the way the capital bill was written, we need the Republican caucuses, to sign on the dotted line to issue the bonds necessary."
In Noland's taxpayer funded legislative update, which arrived in 22nd District mailboxes last weekend, he mentioned on the front page that he "helped our local schools get $22 million dollars in additional funding," legislation he sponsored that was vetoed by Gov. Pat Quinn last month.
At the time, Noland described the veto as an "understandably calculated decision" by Quinn.
Pages into the mailing, Noland mentions that the legislation awaits the governor's signature.
On Friday, he acknowledged the mailing had likely printed before the governor's veto, but "in securing the $22 million we were able to secure the appropriation through the legislature, and the governor vetoed it. We did our part. ... The fight's not over yet," he said.
In June, Noland corrected an e-mail sent out by his private campaign asking for donations that also listed his taxpayer-funded Springfield and Elgin offices, which critics charged solicited donations from state property.