Inquiring minds are again focusing on problems in state budgets.

Illinois is in a dogfight with California, New York, and New Jersey for the dubious honor of being the state deepest in fiscal do-do.

Although New Jersey is addressing its fiscal issues thanks to Governor Chris Christie… Illinois, California, and New York are flopping around like a 50 pound sea bass in 3 inches of water.

Illinois $13 Billion Budget Woes Reach Boiling Point

Please consider Illinois Budget Woes Come to a Boil

Illinois lawmakers were in disarray Thursday as they groped for stopgap measures to address a $13 billion deficit equaling nearly half of the state’s general-fund revenue.

The state faces one of the nation’s worst budget crises, spilled over in part from the broader national economic crunch, and its current bond ratings lag only California’s. But the confusion in the legislature indicates that serious steps to fix state finances won’t be taken until after the November elections—if then.

House Minority Leader Tom Cross said “We are lucky in that we still can borrow,” noting that lawmakers responded to rating-agency concerns last month by reducing pension benefits and lifting the retirement age for new state employees to 67 from 60. Lawmakers also are weighing the idea of postponing pension payments for the first half of the fiscal year until January, Mr. Trotter said.

Mr. Quinn presented a budget in March that would still leave the state with a $10.6 billion deficit. His plan projected a deficit of $4.7 billion for the coming fiscal year beginning July 1—which he planned to cover through borrowing—and a $5.9 billion deficit carried over from the current budget.

The governor also proposed cutting expenses by $1.5 billion and raising the state income tax 1.5 percentage points, to 4.5% from 3%. He said the tax hike would be used to avert tens of thousands of teacher layoffs. A different proposal to raise income-tax rates passed the state Senate last year but has stalled in the House.

Any hopes that the national economic recovery would help the budget discussions were dashed this week when Illinois disclosed that revenue for April —when most citizens pay taxes—fell more than 15% from the same month a year ago, or $501 million, in part because of a $345 million drop in federal aid. Gross personal income-tax receipts, a major revenue source, dropped $103 million, or 8.1%.

Illinois Comptroller Daniel Hynes said in his April report that the state’s cash position for the quarter ending June 30 “looks exceedingly difficult.” By June 10, Illinois must repay $1.75 billion, plus interest, in short-term borrowing.

Meanwhile, the state still owes billions of dollars to hospitals, universities, social-service providers and others. Mr. Hynes said the state’s backlog of unpaid bills probably will exceed $5.5 billion at the end of June.

“Eventually, many providers of essential state services may be unable to continue their operations at current levels, and those vulnerable segments of the population to whom they provide services will suffer the consequences,” he wrote.

States in the Red

For more state details please see the Wall Street Journal Interactive Map States in the Red.

Illinois Taxpayers Fund Statue of Lois Lane

John Tillman at the Illinois Policy Institute is questioning a A Taxpayer Funded Lois Lane

Towns, cities, and villages are lining up to get more dollars from the state to fund projects intended to bring tourists in. John Tillman appears on ABC Chicago and wonders if this is really the best policy for our state, or if it’s just another example of the state picking picking the winners and losers.

Please click on link to see video. Here is a fine quote:

“As mayor of the city of Metropolis it is my job to take every opportunity I can to get every dollar that is generated through state or federal government. I am going to be first in line to get every dollar I can get.”

School Choice in Illinois

Please consider this Update on SB2494 and School Choice

Thousands of families are trapped in failing or poverty-stricken overcrowded schools. An effort was born this spring to give those families a better choice. A school voucher bill was proposed by Senator James Meeks to allow those families to choose a private school for their children, if they so desired.

Though the bill passed the full Illinois Senate and the Illinois House Executive Committee, there is not yet enough support within the House of Representatives to send the legislation to the governor’s desk. Yesterday, Senate Bill 2494 was placed on extended consideration – meaning that the legislation has already received significant support but not a majority of votes on the House floor.

The move to extended consideration means that no official roll call was taken after yesterday’s impassioned debate in House chambers. However, video of the live vote showed that the landmark school choice legislation was likely five or six votes away from passage, despite heavy opposition from union lobbyists and other powerful interest groups.

If you live in Illinois, please call your representative and demand free choice. If you want change, you have to act.

Note: In the above link the address “type” is important. For me it was “CT” for court, for others it may be “AVE” for avenue, etc. I had to put that in the “type” field rather than the street name field or the search came up blank.

Governor Quinn Works For Union Bosses

The Illinois Policy Institute discussing Unionizing Your Home

Does Governor Quinn work for the citizens of Illinois or for the union bosses?

With free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation attorneys, a group of home-based personal care providers filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court against Governor Pat Quinn and union officials for their efforts to force Illinois personal care providers under unwanted union boss control.

The National Right to Work Foundation press release reads:

The additional 4,500 home-care providers who are not yet under union control rejected union membership by a two-to-one margin in a mail-in vote. However, per Quinn’s executive order, the home-care providers may again be subject to out-of-state SEIU and American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union organizers making “home visits” attempting to organize the home-care providers through coercive “card check” unionization tactics.

I spoke to Pam Harris (listen to that interview here), one of the home-care providers who filed the suit.

Harris claims that it would cost $140,000 annually to institutionalize her son, but that through a Medicaid program she gets $25,000 to look after him at home. Out of that she says she pays for his therapies and developmental training.

Please play the interview with Pam Harris.

The teacher’s union, among other groups, is also against the withdrawal of the governor’s executive order.

Strong-Arm Tactics and Tax Policies of Quinn

I am sick and fed up with union strong-arm tactics and the tax programs of Governor Quinn who want to raise Illinois taxes by 50%.

Bill Brady is the Republican nominee. Brady is for school vouchers and is in favor of spending cuts.

Here is Brady’s Position on Governor Quinn’s obstructionism

“Pat Quinn yesterday said that the governor of Illinois should be a cheerleader. Unfortunately, Governor Quinn has decided to instead become the state’s obstructionist-in-chief. By speaking out against the Meeks voucher bill, he obstructed opportunity for 22,000 children in struggling communities. He continues to obstruct meaningful spending cuts and any serious plans to create a job-growing environment in Illinois or to bring a clean break to the state’s culture of corruption.

What the governor should be saying ‘no’ to is the explosion of pension bond indebtedness, especially at a time when we have the worst unfunded pension liability in the nation. I am pleased that so many Republicans stood up for fiscal responsibility on this.

Illinois doesn’t need a new cheerleader right now. Illinois needs to send in a new quarterback. And then as we get our state back on track, we’ll all finally have something real to cheer about.”

Click here to Volunteer to Help Bill Brady.

Bill Brady is not Chris Christie, at least I do not think so. However, it is mandatory to get rid of Pat Quinn.

If you live in Illinois please vote for Republican candidate Bill Brady.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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