The reporting on the Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan’s bogus budget passed on Friday by the House doesn’t seem to emphasize what needs to be emphasized: It is $5 billion out of whack.
A $5 billion deficit violates the Illinois constitution’s requirement for a balanced budget. It does nothing to get the bond ratings services off the state’s back or reduce the threat of the state’s bonds taking the last teeny tiny step into the junk cellar. It’s not the “comprehensive” budget that everyone pledges allegiance to. It provides no revenues to make up the deficit gap. It was concocted in secret and voted on without any vetting or disclosure of its details.
We again had to rely on the Illinois Policy Institute to bring the obvious to our attention. Said Craig Lesner the group’s budget and tax research director:
Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan has for the first time officially presented a fiscal year 2018 budget plan, which spends $36.5 billion. Madigan’s plan overspends by over $5 billion more than what Illinois currently takes in revenues. (Read more)
Yet the budget won a preliminary 90-25 vote in the House on Friday with the support of some Republicans, their consciences squeezed by the crisis that Madigan created into doing what they thought was the responsible thing. (I pointed out this strategy in an earlier post.)
Obviously, the budget hole would be filled with a tax increase. At least the Senate-passed budget was honest enough to admit it. As usual, Madigan is playing games. But the ratings services won’t fall for it. Look for a bombshell from them after the Fourth of July break.
Madigan keeps saying that not a single structural reform to address the state’s fiscal needs will be allowed in his bill, a senseless demand that Democrats blindly follow. So, the question remains: If the budget passes without any reforms, what will he do later to fix the state’s disaster?
The answer is obvious: Nothing.