Illinois is Broke

That's the message from one of the most influential business groups in Illinois, and the warning couldn't come soon enough.

The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago has gotten into the state budget brawl with some good analysis and an action plan. It's new web site, lays out some dire warnings:

By July, Illinois will be $130,000,000,000 (that's BILLION!)
in debt. This crushing load hampers the state's ability to fund public
schools and universities, health care, and other essential public
services. Most of that money is owed to the state's pension funds and
retiree health care plans. And YOUR SHARE of that debt is $25,000 per

How did this happen? Basically, Illinois spends $3 for every $2 it takes in. Only in Springfield is this kind of math possible. The state accomplishes this by borrowing or by simply ignoring its unpaid bills. And it has been doing so for years.

This year alone, Illinois will be short more than $14,000,000,000. Things are so bad that Illinois now has one of the worst budget deficits in the nation. This has to stop! Financial disaster is on the horizon. We can no longer ignore the problem.

Illinois must reduce its spending and bring its public pension and retiree health care plans in line with the retirement plans the rest of us have. Go to the What You Can Do page of this Web site to see how you can help.

For some time now, it has been apparent that the politicians, left on their own, would not solve this problem and that the corporate and civic community would have to throw some weight around. The Civic Committee has been successful in a number of endeavors, including pushing for the expansion of O'Hare Airport (although I didn't agree with that campaign). 

It's probably too late to influence next week's primary election, but the November general election still is a long way off. Here's hoping that a group of people who have to be financially responsible in the businesses or suffer the consequences can bring some reason to politicians who have no idea of the meaning of the word.
Here is the group's press release: Broke.jpg.pdf


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  • After looking at the list of names on the left side of the letterhead, I'm convinced that they aren't going to get it done. The Hon. Richard M. Daley may be honorary, but there are listed a number of the business people who prop him up (Canning, William Daley, the Pritzkers, Pat Ryan, Tilton, to name a few). Even if we accept that Daley got the message that the city's tax well has been pumped dry, it is inconceivable to me that these holders of the money can't get behind a candidate on the state level that would clean it up. Putting up a website is cheap; even a few guys behind had a more aesthetic "find your rep" form, and might have had some success in getting the sales tax raised.

    Since these are supposedly the state's most successful businesspeople, the least they could do is volunteer some of their financial engineers to consult for free with the state. Don't tell me that they don't have financial engineers.

    Meantime, supposedly Hynes is the more fiscally responsible of the two major candidates for governor, but the two teachers unions have radio ads backing him. One would assume that their agenda is not congruent with the one described above.

    So, I am not putting much "stock" into this.

  • Yes broke and quinn is spending like he's a billionaire.
    Quinn was not elected Governor nor will he ever be.

  • You can't keep putting people in office with any connections to the current administration.Hynes is just another of the connected.Go back and look at the way the 19th ward was run by this father........DUMP THEM ALL...............

  • This is EXACTLY why the General Assembly should NOT pass Quinn's proposed income tax increase. For every two bucks in new revenue a tax increase would bring in, the legislature will spend three dollars.

    That, and if the amount of the proposed tax increase is based on current revenues, there will be a huge windfall for the General Assembly to spend once the economy recovers and earned income rises statewide. You just KNOW they won't use it to pay down the debt - it will become pure pork, doled out to the connected few.

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