Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) today proposed “the most difficult budget Illinois has ever faced,” adding it was “only a preview of the pain that is to come” if the legislature does not reform the state’s public pension system.
The state’s pension system will consume $7 billion this year and currently has $96.7 billion in unfunded liabilities.
The following statements from Steve Stanek, research fellow for budget and tax policy at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank based in Chicago – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at firstname.lastname@example.org and 312/377-4000.
“There is no hope. From the numbers I’m looking at, Gov. Quinn is proposing a budget that totals $1.9 billion more spending than the budget he signed last June. This in a state with the nation’s worst credit rating, worst pension shortfall, and worst backlog of unpaid bills.
“Meanwhile, the state’s teachers union is blasting the budget proposal and complaining about the many years the state has skipped payments into their pension system to spend that money on other things. Well, their pensions are swallowing almost all the additional revenue the state takes in. And this same union slavishly backs Michael Madigan, who entered the legislature while in his 20s and is now in his 70s, and who has been House Speaker for 30 years.
“No one is more directly responsible for the pension disaster and state fiscal crisis than Madigan. If teachers and others want things to change in Springfield, they have to stop sending their money and political support to Madigan and the political puppets who dance every time he pulls their strings.”
The Heartland Institute is a 29-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.