Illinois Is Essentially Experiencing Its Own Private Great Depression

 

The state of Illinois has not passed a budget for close to three years.

Arguably it’s just as well because Illinois budgets for decades have been nothing but a moth-eaten collection of lies, one time deficits repeated endlessly, and financial wizardry statements designed to disguise Illinois’ real problems: failure to rein in spending coupled with a very business unfriendly environment.

As Illinois’ bond rating careens towards junk, Illinois Unpaid Bills Jumped to $14.3 Billion. Today, the state told contractors to halt roadwork other that required for safety.

Five Illinois Universities Rated Junk

Yesterday, the Illinois Policy Institute reported MOODY’S DOWNGRADES 7 ILLINOIS UNIVERSITIES, 5 ARE JUNK.

Everybody wants to blame the downgrades on the state’s current budget impasse. The stalemate of nearly two years has led to cuts in state appropriations to Illinois universities. But the universities’ financial difficulties started before the state’s budget gridlock and are largely of their own making. Illinois colleges and universities have long overspent on bloated bureaucracies and expensive compensation and benefits, prioritizing administrators over students.

For years, university and college officials across the state have hiked tuition to pay for administrative hiring sprees, generous executive compensation and out-of-control pensions. Their spending priorities distorted university finances long before the budget impasse began.

The number of administrators in Illinois’ universities grew by nearly a third (31.1 percent) between 2004 and 2010. At the same time, faculty only increased 1.8 percent, and the number of students only grew 2.3 percent.

Blame Who?

It is easy to blame Governor Rauner, but he is last on my list. Illinois has been in trouble for decades. The state’s only solution has been to tax, and tax, and tax.

That is precisely the same position as Chicago Mayor Rahn Emanuel.

The result is easy to predict.

Illinois’ Economic Growth Is Worse Than During the Great Depression

Illinois’ total state economic activity has increased by only 4 percent since 2007, which is lower than the U.S.’ 10 percent GDP growth during the worst decade of the Great Depression according to the Illinois Policy Institute.

It took $31.6 billion of new tax revenue to reduce the backlog of bills by $1.3 billion. But the complete picture is much worse as Illinois’ pension debt rose more than $25B from 2010 through 2015.

Failed State

  1. On June 4, 2017, Politico reported How Illinois became America’s failed state.
  2. The Heritage Foundation beat Politico to the idea by a mile with its September 28, 2015, analysis Illinois: The Anatomy of a Failed Liberal State.
  3. The Chicago Tribune is behind the times with its January 3, 2017, analysis, Illinois in danger of becoming a failed state.

Illinois is not in danger of becoming a failed state, it is a failed state. I have been talking about this for years.

Five Desperately Needed Reforms

  1. Municipal bankruptcy legislation
  2. Pension reform
  3. Right-to-Work legislation
  4. End of prevailing wage laws
  5. Workers’ compensation reform

Tax hikes are not the answer. Reform is the answer, and bankruptcy reform is at the top of the list.

Illinois Is Bankrupt

Illinois is essentially bankrupt. Unfortunately, there is no provision for states to declare bankruptcy.

States can default. However, default is an easy prediction for Illinois’ public union pensions.

Full article: Illinois Is Essentially Experiencing Its Own Private Great Depression (Financial Sense Online)

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