Over the next five days, J.B. Pritzker becomes the 43rd governor of Illinois, succeeding Bruce Rauner. Michael Madigan gets re-elected by his flock to yet another term as Speaker of the House. And Illinois will circle the drain. Heading toward the darkness below, even faster than before.
Put aside the absurd speculation that with the new dawn, Pritzker and Madigan will bring a bright, new day of cooperation that'll cleanse the state in their brilliance and uprightness. That's for child-like innocents, hopeless Democratic partisans, the gullible and simple-minded.
Instead, they will bring more of the same. And what is that. Departing Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-DuPage) who nearly defeated Rauner in the Republican primary smartly detailed the problems in her farewell letter to her constituents. This will take up some space; read them to the end if you can stomach it. In her six years in the House she observed that:
- The official state pension debt skyrocketed from about $100 billion to nearly an official $134 billion, a 33 percent increase. A more realistic assessment of $234 billion comes from Moody’s Investment Services.
- Illinois has the slowest income growth in the Midwest as the state's median household income has fallen. Except for...you got it: Public sector salaries have climbed since the 2008 recession
- Ives' property taxes have increased more than 13 percent.
- 600,000 people have fled Illinois. In the last five years the net outmigration is 157,000 people, the equivalent of a Naperville.
- As state debt has grown, the burden on each taxpayer has grown to $50,800.
- Every year for the last 18 years state government has spent more than it has taken in. In her six years, she never voted for a budget because they all were out of balance.
- In her six years, the unpaid bill backlog stood at $9 billion. The 2011 tax increase failed to help in the long-term. Borrowing $6 billion 18 months ago to pay off the mountain of bills, the backlog still is over $7 billion. The only accomplishment was to increase the states' debt load.
- After spending an unprecedented amount of money last year, this year's budget was unbalanced by over $1.2 billion.
Here, Ives says, are the state's key critical problems:
- The unfunded public employee pension funds in Illinois want $845 million more.
- The formula for funding public schools requires another $350 million, an amount the would add more than $1 billion to general state aid in three years. Meanwhile local property taxes and debt for education continue ballooning.
- Higher education wants $314 million, or over 16 percent more.
- For the fourth year, revenue from the sale of the Thompson Center has been included in the sham budget. That leaves a $1.2 billion hole over four years, assuming that the white elephant is again not sold.
- Thanks to Illinois' rotten credit rating, selling bonds to pay for everything, including operating expenses, has imposed crippling interest payments on Illinois. The "Illinois Penalty" as the higher interest rates are called, has made local government borrowing even more expensive
Plunk your magic twanger, gentlemen. Make us happy.
I could go on, but you get the idea. Ive's does, pointing out, for example, the costs of rampant government corruption.
If you don't want to live in the Democrats' fantasy land you owe it to yourself to get more details from Ives' analysis here.
Want to subscribe? Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.