Watch Berkowitz and Martin discuss IL’s annual budget chaos and other long term, state government fiscal failures: Cable & Web

Watch Jeff Berkowitz and Terry Martin in tonight’s City of Chicago edition of Public Affairs (8:30 pm and midnight; repeats tomorrow night at 9:35 pm, Cable Ch 21 – CAN TV) discuss what’s wrong with IL State Government and why it’s getting no closer to solving our bloated budget, anticipated long run fiscal doom and other related public policy failures.

You can also watch the program 24/7 by clicking here.

For starters, Speaker Madigan’s gone, but there is no New Day. Instead, there’s a new Sheriff triad in town. Everything in Springfield is run as an oligarchy by Dem Gov Pritzker, Dem House Speaker Welch and Dem Senate Pres Don Harmon with their Democratic Party super majorities in the General Assembly (House, 73-45 and Senate, 41-18), with little or no input from Republican minority leaders Durkin and McConchie, or any other Republicans.   

IL Dems dropped the 700 page FY2022 budget on Republicans a few minutes before the targeted Memorial Day evening deadline for the close of IL’s legislative session, so there was no debate to speak of. What should have been a four month discussion of options to reform and improve the handling of our educational, pension, Medicaid, Human Services and ancillary systems became a ten minute parody of a real legislature.

That’s not government, that’s one big comedy show.

The legislature and the Governor never had a serious discussion of how to address $420 billion in unfunded State and IL cities’ pension liabilities (Pritzker has cameos during the show where he says IL is wonderful, State government is super but “about $500 million/year diverted to pension spending from current spending,” is getting to be a problem. He alludes to flattening the pension amortization curve, but concedes “You don’t want to take money out of the pension system.” That’s not a serious debate, that’s a throwaway line in a ten minute, junior high mock up of a real government.

Article IV of the U. S. Constitution guarantees IL a Republic form of government to its citizens, but the Democrats in the General Assembly conspired with the Governor to prevent that as they passed into law re-districting legislation that was not a “Fair map,” and among other heinous acts pitted 14 IL House Republican incumbents against each other in 2022 primaries.

Of course, most, if not all, of the legislative districts that mattered were gerrymandered to make electing even more Democrats much easier. And, after 60 years of not re-districting judicial districts, Dems decided to make sure they didn’t lose the majority in the IL Supreme Court by re-districting the Supreme Court seat that is up in 2022 to move in Dems and move out Republicans.

Although Gov Pritzker promised the voters in 2018 that he would veto a new map if it was not prepared by an independent commission, he signed the legislation even though it contained perhaps the State’s most egregiously partisan drawn map- developed by his Dem party hacks.   

Meanwhile, the Democrats wasted the IL legislative session for the last four months not dealing with the State’s major problems: Largest pension crisis, worst credit rating, 2nd highest property tax, 3rd highest over-all taxes and 3rd worst business environment in the nation.

IL also has record out-migration to other states, is one of only three states to suffer declining population and has erratic property value growth, if at all, across the state.

None of these important issues were put on the agenda by the Dems to be dealt with by the IL legislature during the last four months of the legislative session.

And the Dems in control of the IL legislature did nothing to put on next year’s ballot a choice for citizens to amend the IL Constitution to give to the Legislature the power to reform and restructure IL’s public sector pensions, whose benefits were and are so overly generous relative to the private sector that there is no way for them to be paid.

Instead, the IL Democrats who control the IL Legislature put on the 2022 ballot a choice to amend the IL Constitution to enshrine forever IL union monopoly power- which would make it impossible for IL to institute reforms to fix IL’s economic problems.                       

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