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Guest Column: Observations on the State of Illinois
By E.J. Pagel
There’s a new deal to tackle the Illinois pension problem, but it’s a secret. However, one state senator who is a union backer was told, “You’re not gonna like it.”
Why should we expect anything besides kicking the can down the road again? Some sources say it will save $100 billion over 30 years, and that would pay off exactly what is owed on the pensions. All the other debt in Illinois will continue to increase under 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.
As reported by AP, the State of Illinois recently sold $1.3 billion in bonds to reluctant buyers. The state’s credit rating has plummeted, and it cost taxpayers an EXTRA $18 million per year to borrow this particular $1.3 billion. Over the 25 years of paying off those bonds, we’ll pay total $2.43 billion! (No thanks to AP for not providing those figures.)
Illinois has vaulted past California as the poster child of deficit spending. We have $290 billion total debt and unfunded obligations, and more than 50 percent of our current budget is deficit spending.
The dire emergency that demanded such horribly expensive borrowing, according to the AP article, is for the following three items:
1) “To improve highways.” 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.” Why should the state be funding that? Chicago has the home-rule authority to extract all the dollars they want from their own taxpayers.
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 cost of health care is going up. Meanwhile, among other outrages, more than 800 ILLEGAL ALIENS receive long-term residential care in Cook County (tax-funded) hospitals. What about our seniors and veterans?
The cost of state universities’ tuition just went up. We are told, “In-state tuition for ILLEGAL ALIENS has nothing to do with it. The cost of everything is higher now.”
The cost of auto insurance is going up. We are told: “Giving driver’s licenses to ILLEGAL ALIENS has nothing to do with it. The cost of everything is higher now.”
Illinois taxpayers now spend $4.6 billion per year on benefits for ILLEGAL ALIENS. Meanwhile, in national polls, Democrats think the Tea Party is more of a terrorist threat than Islamic Jihad.
E.J. Pagel, of Winnebago, Ill., is a member of the Illinois Minuteman Project.
From the Jan. 22-28, 2014, issue