Dan Brady celebrated his birthday Thursday in the way he has become accustomed — he marched in parades, spoke to a lot of people and did what politicians do, he answered a lot of questions.
    The Daily Leader caught up the state representative from the 105th district after the parade in Chenoa. The always cordial and courteous Brady provided a look at what work the state legislature recently finished.
    “We concluded our business the first day of June. There was some good and some bad,” Brady, a Republican from Bloomington, said. “The House Republicans were able to negotiate down some taxes, but we have some other taxes we have now.”
    The main tax people are aware of right now is the gas tax.
    “When you talk about the infrastructure side of things and the gas tax, it was a difficult vote to raise,” Brady said. “But on the other hand, we haven’t done this since 1990.
    “When the voters approved the concept of a lock box, that will get the money to where it’s supposed to go — to our roads and bridges, etc.”
    Anyone who driven Illinois roads understands the need to have them in the best shape possible. The four-season variance in weather creates issues on the roadways. They tend to break up in the winter and spring and get repaired in the summer months. It’s kind of a vicious cycle.
    “The last time it had been raised was 1990. If we had been raising a little bit, then we would be about 19 cents for a total of 38, where we’re at now,” Brady said.
    Despite the rise in gas prices, they are still rather close to what they were just a couple of months ago.
    “When the voters passed in the last election cycle, the theory of the locked box, meaning that if the gas tax were to go up, that money goes for nothing but roads, bridges and infrastructure. That’s what was passed,” Brady said.
    There were quite a few tax proposals on the table besides the gas tax. A running joke in the media, as well as among the residents of Illinois, was what’s going to get taxed next.
    “When you talk about some of the things we were able to stop taxes, like real estate transfer tax,” Brady said. “We were able to stop the tax on beer and wine, we were able to stop other taxes.
    “In the minority, you can’t stop everything. I think there is good that outweighed the total bad, at least when you talk budget and capital.”
    Brady did favor the gas tax, but there were others that did pass that he opposed.
    “When you talk about some of the legislation that was passed, I was not for that,” Brady said. “I was not for any type of expansion when it came to abortion, I was not for recreation use of marijuana. But the reality is in the minority, those were passed.”
    Brady sits on a committee dealing with higher education. With Illinois State and Illinois Wesleyan, plus Heartland College, in his backyard, this is a topic that is close to him.
    “Capital-wise, I’m encouraged for stability to Illinois State University, in particular deferred maintenance of over $40 million for the university that’s needed, $89 million toward Milner Library, $67 million toward the fine arts building at ISU,” said Brady. “Those are all needed projects and that’s all going to come, with the combination of the gas tax, and with the combination of expansion of gaming.”
    A huge question mark in recent years was how to get the state pension fund back to where it’s supposed to be sitting. In listening to Brady, there seems to be some movement in the right direction.
    “This was another year where we fully funded pensions,” Brady said. “What we’ve got to do is get the unfunded liability down. That’s only going to happen when we talk about bringing in the spending in other areas.
    “Making sure money goes toward roads and bridges is one thing, making sure we can direct money toward paying down our pension debt is another problem.”
    Brady will be working in his district until the veto session begins on Oct. 28. Brady said he is looking forward to see how things are working out by the time he heads back to Springfield.
    “It will be interesting to see exactly what is going on and where we’re at with recreational use of marijuana in the state, what needs to be done,” Brady said. “The other is looking at the infrastructure, that we can make sure that we’re tracking, that the money that was raised and is being raised, is going toward nothing but infrastructure in the state.”