Guest Column: A billion here, a few billion there …
Editor’s note: The following guest column has been on hold since July as a result of space constraints in the print edition. It is included here in the online version so the author’s voice can still be heard.
This guest column is in response to an Associated Press article by Sara Burnett that appeared in the June 26 issue of the Rockford Register Star.
By E.J. Pagel
It must have been painful for those liberal spinsters and shlockmeisters at the AP to report on the State of Illinois’ recent sale of $1.3 billion in bonds to reluctant buyers. The painful details underscore the utter and absolute hypocrisy of the Democrats who control this state.
There aren’t enough Republican votes to change a damn thing in the General Assembly, which adjourned and left town five times in the last 12 months without solving the pension problem. With $290 billion total debt and unfunded obligations, and more than 50 percent of the current budget being deficit spending, Illinois has vaulted past California as the “Poster Child of Deficit Spending.”
The cock-sure blunderers (who can’t even agree among themselves about the ever-escalating $97 billion pension shortfall) have caused our state’s credit rating to plummet, costing taxpayers an EXTRA $18 million per year to borrow this particular $1.3 billion. Over the 25 years of paying off those bonds, that’s $450 million EXTRA, above the regular interest. (4.27 percent is what the more fiscally responsible states of Maryland and Virginia are paying.) Those bonds will ultimately cost us $2.43 billion! (No thanks to AP for not providing those figures.) In spite of having the highest interest penalty in the nation, most buyers consider them “toxic.” Georgia, New Jersey and Minnesota have delayed their bond sales.
This dire emergency that demands horribly expensive borrowing, according to the AP article, is for the following three items:
1. “To improve highways.” OK, that’s important, but vague, and how is it not cronyism? The Democrats have been methodically complicit in allowing unions to set their own prevailing wage, so that any and all work done for government entities will cost taxpayers three times more than in the private sector. But AP never fails to badmouth their critics.
2. “Rebuild a 40-year-old elevated train in Chicago.” Does that benefit Illinois taxpayers? Chicago has the home rule authority to extract all the dollars they want from their taxpayers. Why should the state be funding that for them? Who would perhaps answer any of these questions? The AP is not asking. Some very expensive Metra cars are now being manufactured in Rochelle. They’re usually made for less, but not since we’re paying the bill — for Chicago.
3. “Buy land for an airport.” Everyone knows it’s Peotone, but (shhh) don’t report that. AP soft-pedals again for the Democrats. The major airlines have already stated they will not use it if it’s built. The proximity of the airport in Rockford IS ALWAYS IGNORED. The Peotone crusade is propped up by Democrats to benefit their blind-trust-owning cronies — and I’ll bet some are Republicans. Just like our own Harrison-Springfield extension. Give taxpayers back the $28,000 for the study on how to develop that land!
When Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn started a website for budget suggestions, it was hailed by the media as golden and glorious. Illinois Minuteman Project already protested vehemently against all tax dollars spent on ILLEGAL ALIENS — for education, incarceration and non-emergency medical care, including more than 800 ILLEGAL ALIENS who receive long-term residential care in Cook County hospitals. While that spending increased from $3.5 to $4.6 billion, Democrats were just thumbing their noses at us — and AP was writing their usual pro-illegal stories.
Democrats advocated for the traveling Mexican Consulate to plop itself down at place after place, selling the phony matricular consular IDs to the ILLEGAL ALIENS, which MUST BE ACCEPTED by every tax-funded agency in the state of Illinois! The county gets zero sales tax from those, nor from sales of passports, and the consulate admittedly does not verify the identity of those ILLEGAL ALIENS!
Tuition at Northern Illinois University just went up 2 percent, and it was never reported in the Rockford Register-Star. U of I and RVC have also quietly raised their tuition. We’ve been predicting this since the Democrats rammed through in-state tuition for ILLEGAL ALIENS. Can any college official be brought on the carpet? Of course they would say, “Oh, that has nothing to do with it. The cost of everything is higher now.” So, when auto insurance rates go up, they’ll say, “Oh, giving driver’s licenses to ILLEGAL ALIENS has nothing to do with it. The cost of everything is higher now.”
Adding insult to injury, Democrats think the Tea Party is more of a terrorist threat than Islamic Jihad. They think they have a (Kool-Aid-drinking) majority, thanks to union thuggery, government jobs and entitlements. Their stated course of action is gleefully serving to those of us who pay the bills — THE ROYAL SHAFT.
E.J. Pagel is a member of the Illinois Minuteman Project.
From the Oct. 30-Nov. 5, 2013, issue