Sunday, February 20, 2011

Illinois: 200 feet below the surface and running out of air

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has proposed a new state budget that sketches out spending of $52.7 billion. The problem: his plan requires borrowing of $8.7 -- 17% of the budget -- to help pay for all of the overdue bills the state owes.

Republican lawmakers said the budget plan is DOA, noting that overall state spending would increase by about $1.7 billion. Chicago's Civic Federation, a budget watchdog group, said the borrowing would cost Illinois about $3.4 billion in additional interest. Even Democrats in the state legislature said were not satisfied with the plan and promised to look for additional places to cut spending.

Quinn also came under fire from human service agencies who say his budget plan would unfairly hurt the poor, sick and elderly [cutting] $1 billion [overall and] $552 million ... the state's Medicaid reimbursement rate...

...The bond offering, now scheduled for next week, will help the state to pay its annual contribution to the state's public pension plans, which are more than 50% underfunded. Notably, Quinn's budget plan doesn't address the state's pension problem, which is one of the worst in the nation.

Even the state's notoriously liberal media outlets have come to realize just how precarious Springfield's position is.

Stop. Your. Borrowing.

In January, Gov. Pat Quinn and his fellow Democrats in the state Legislature told all of us we have to surrender an additional $7 billion in income taxes so that deadbeat Illinois can pay its old bills.

Now Quinn and some Democratic lawmakers want this hugely indebted state to borrow $8.75 billion so that … um … deadbeat Illinois can pay its old bills.

...That's the core problem every Illinoisan needs to grasp: With Quinn & Co. in charge, these unsustainable patterns of spending just go on and on. More taxing and borrowing only liberates them from having to restructure how Illinois does business with public employee unions and others who benefit from taxpayer dollars...

...That's right. As with prior borrowing to cover annual payments into the state pension system, the Democrats want to borrow long-term money to pay routine operating costs of state government. By that corrosive tactic, Quinn and Cullerton would dump today's everyday expenses onto tomorrow's taxpayers.

And it gets worse: By the Civic Federation's estimates, taxpayers would pay more than $3.4 billion in interest to retire these 15-year bonds. And the proposal backloads both principal and interest payments: Total debt service would leap upward in 2015 and 2016 — when Quinn's supposedly "temporary" income tax hike is scheduled to vanish.

Not to be callous, but the residents of Illinois are getting precisely what they deserve. They keep electing corrupt, irresponsible hacks to office. Otherwise known as Democrats.

Image adapted from: Chicago Sun-Times.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The majority of Voters in every county except for Cook did not vote for Gov Quinn.

So it is just more of the Chicago way being forced upon the rest of us