I am sad for the regular citizens of Illinois that simply try day after day to follow the law, raise their family, pay their bills, and enjoy life as much as possible. For the average taxpayer in Illinois, this session was a disaster whose effects will not be fully felt until it is too late. What will the politicians do the next time they need more money? Without having tackled any spending reforms, the next tax increase is just around the corner. The passage of $85 billion in spending in one day and the addition of billions in dollars of tax increases, will hurt future generations and enslave them to the highest tax burdens in the country if they stay in Illinois. Of course, many of them will flee.
For government unions, private unions that provide services on construction projects, or a favored business that got special tax credits, the budget and capital spending bills just made their bottom line better. For everyone else, your politicians from both parties sold you out. Only a few top people even know what is entirely in the budget and what is truly getting funded. Every day brings out a new provision that no one discussed in debate, a debate that was controlled and planned by the leaders and limited to 3 speakers on each side which is the antithesis of what we expect in a democratic society.
Just today, I learned that pension spiking up to 6% for teachers was reinstated, with no local penalty to pay for the spike. This is Madigan's thank you to the IEA.
Also, in the budget is $300-400 million of pork spending. House Republicans confirmed to me that they were told to make a list of $1.5 million they want to spend on projects in their district. Senators were given $3 million each to spend, or at least that is what the folks I talked to were told at one time. But, no one knows for sure because no one got to see the whole bill or know if their projects are really funded. And then there are rumors that Black caucus members were given additional money and possibly Democrats were given more to spend than Republicans. But, again, no one knows the details or even if the projects they submitted will really get funded. But, what is indisputable is that nearly every member knew they were to submit a list for this excess spending – and no one said anything that widely widely alerted their constituents to this provision in the capital bill. Despite us being broke. Rep McSweeney told me he was not aware of the request for a list of projects and had no idea about it when I asked about the member initiative money (a polite phrase for pork spending).
Another under reported aspect of the budget was legislative pay increases. House leadership allowed legislator pay increases and mileage and per diem increases to go forward – and not one representative protested – there were many Republicans that knew about the pay increases and said nothing.
The budget includes more borrowing and when fully utilized increase our borrowing by more than 75% over our current general revenue debt of $30 billion.The tragedy of the budget is that they intend to add a minimum of $46.2 billion in debt (45 in capital bill, 1.2 for back bills). We already have more debt relative to our budget than any other state. We are the worst run state in the union with the lowest credit rating at one notch above junk. None of Illinois' systemic problems were tackled (pensions, property taxes, spending, medicaid, collective bargaining, work comp). When the next recession hits, the destructiveness of Illinois' spending and taxing will be revealed. Let's hope the voters wake-up before then.