July 16, 2009
The Chicago 9 Pass Stimulus Bill -- For Indiana
Recently, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels wondered why Indiana needed a federal stimulus bill. After all, he said he already had the best stimulus he could ask for; it’s called Illinois and Michigan.
In keeping with their commitment to drive businesses and jobs to Indiana and elsewhere, Gov. Pat Quinn and the Democratic leadership congratulated themselves last night on a budget compromise they described as a necessary short-term solution to avoid a financial meltdown.
But what they avoided was something more crucial to our state’s future: an opportunity to put this state on sound financial footing.
Once again, Illinois legislators took the easy way out and saddled taxpayers with more debt rather than make the politically-uncomfortable decisions required to pull us out of this financial mess.
And today, Illinois’ unemployment rate hit 10.3% -- the highest since 1983. And not a day had passed from passage of the bill to the announcement from Moody’s Investors Service that it has placed Illinois’ general-obligations bond ratings on review for possible downgrade. As the Moody analyst who wrote the report said, “The state has essentially kicked the can further down the road in terms of making decisions.” This follows on the Standard and Poor’s Rating Service’s downgrade in March. Meanwhile, Mike Madigan, Pat Quinn, and the rest of the Chicago 9 do nothing but dig the hole a little deeper.
A hidden aspect of today’s shovel-full is that the governor and General Assembly might as well have just passed a tax increase, rather than hide behind their borrowing measure. The $3.5 billion the state will now borrow to pay the bills will lead to roughly $700 million in interest payments. And who’s on the hook for that? You, the Illinois taxpayer, that’s who. And be forewarned, Gov. Quinn still hopes to pass his 50% income-tax increase in six months, conveniently after Illinois legislators have survived any primary election opposition.
We will never end our perennial budget crises through tax increases and painless spending cuts. We must enact serious system change ideas that radically reorganize the way Illinois government functions. That means we have to be clear about the problem:
1. Illinois doesn’t have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem. Over the last 20 years, state general fund spending, in real terms, has outpaced population growth by a factor of four—and what do we have to show for it?
2. The Chicago Democrats who run Illinois will always choose the solution that benefits them politically, rather than what benefits the citizens of Illinois.
If we don’t recognize these fundamental facts, no amount of tinkering on the edges will solve the problem. We will find ourselves at the same place we are today, only in much worse shape, if we choose to ignore what’s really going on in Springfield.
The Chicago 9 and their functionaries will do whatever they can to protect their power, even if it means bankrupting Illinois. We must take the fight to them, make them defend what they have done to our state, and force upon them system change solutions that include statutory spending caps and tax cuts. We must make Illinois a growth state again, instead of driving businesses and entrepreneurs away.
That is what it means to un-fix Illinois.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Dan Proft: Illinois Democrats pass a stimulus bill for Indiana
A Proft Press Release in full. The guy's thought about Illinois and the release shows it. So here it is in full. As far as the nine go, check this for the names of the crew who've given us this mess.