“Illinois Remains in a State of Dysfunctional Denial”

Posted: October 25, 2010 by mikethemouth in IL in Fiscal Ruins

The problem with IL is that it is not just politicians sticking their necks in the sand; the responsibility falls on taxpayers too. If you live in IL, and look around you, it should not require anyone to convince you by now that we have a massive financial problem…

Illinoisans not sure what to do about state budget: Poll

“These results show that the current campaigns for governor and other state offices have completely failed to educate the Illinois public about the size of the deficit and what steps are realistic to address a problem of this magnitude…”People seem to want simple and easy solutions to a problem which has been growing for years and a deficit which is of such a size that no easy solutions are left.”

Reducing benefits, raising taxes among proposed pension fixes

Experts agree that this article is correct about the options: either we have to limit benefits to existing workers going ahead or bite the bullet and start paying down our debt and meeting our obligations.

Reducing state employee benefits would be a long and expensive path requiring legislative agreement and action which would then certainly be legally challenged in court because those benefits are constitutionally guaranteed to the workers and by law cannot be “diminished.” So just reducing state employee benefits would not be simple or quick to do, and it would ultimately penalize and demoralize state workers who are not responsible for decades of legislator irresponsibility and cost the state it’s security. How many state workers would continue to work for the state after that? Who wants to be a cop or a firefighter after that?

Paying down our debt and beginning to meet our obligations is the surest and quickest way to way to stop our fiscal bleeding and return to stability and it is what the state will have to do at some point if it wants to exist. The problem is that doing this will inflict pain upon every taxpayer in the state, because revenue sources whether from fees or taxes have to increase. Even a drastic increase in our tax rate may not be enough to help turn the corner at this point. It will also take some ingenuity and creativity to develop new industries and products for the state. Too bad that taxpayers can’t go after every politician  directly responsible for our predicament.  By that, I refer to each of them who voted year-after-year for state borrowing time after time and postponed the problem so they could be safely re-elected rather than doing their jobs and doing what was unpopular, but necessary; raising state taxes when they should have done so.

In Illinois, late payments fray the safety net

“…During the recession and its aftermath, of course, almost every state has had to make deep budget cuts, and those cuts have taken a toll on services. What Illinois is experiencing is different. The turmoil at the Youth Service Project is not a result of policy choices made by political leaders to cut back on youth violence prevention. Rather, it’s a result of choices they haven’t made.

By failing to balance revenues with expenditures, lawmakers have turned their budget problem into a cash-flow problem, pushing decisions of how to spread the state’s fiscal pain to the governor’s budget office, which prioritizes payments, and to state Comptroller Dan Hynes, who writes the checks…So the state is essentially taking out low-interest loans from groups like the Youth Service Project…”

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