After five months of Pritzker: the Illinois Exodus will continue

Readability

After five months of Pritzker: the Illinois Exodus will continue

By John Ruberry

Five months after being sworn in as gov­er­nor of Illi­nois, Demo­c­rat JB Pritzker has got­ten pretty much every­thing he asked for as can­di­date, which isn’t sur­pris­ing as Democ­rats enjoy super­ma­jori­ties in both cham­bers of the Gen­eral Assembly.

Run­ning the show in the Gen­eral Assem­bly is House Speaker Michael Madi­gan (D-​Chicago), a mas­ter ger­ry­man­derer, who is also the chair­man of the state Demo­c­ra­tic Party. He has occu­pied the for­mer post for 34 of the last 36 years and he’s the mid­wife of Illi­nois’ con­sid­er­able finan­cial woes. And he is pos­si­bly still the most pow­er­ful politi­cian in the state.

Illi­nois is essen­tially bank­rupt because of its mas­sive under­funded pub­lic pen­sion sys­tems. That’s because pen­sions have been used as a slush fund by Boss Madi­gan and his cronies. Pen­sion plans have been abused in many ways, includ­ing “pen­sion spik­ing,” which are late-​in-​career pay raises which boosts retire­ment pay. Con­trols were placed on spik­ing in 2005, but they were elim­i­nated this year.

The Illi­nois bud­get for fis­cal 2020 is $40 bil­lion. But despite a con­sti­tu­tional require­ment, one that is unen­force­able unfor­tu­nately, it is believed to be, despite the claims of Democ­rats, to be unbal­anced by $1.9 bil­lion.

Out­side of the bud­get – I’ll get back to fis­cal mat­ters in a bit – last week Pritzker signed into law an extreme expan­sion for abor­tion, which essen­tially legal­ized third trimester abor­tion. While still banned by fed­eral law, Illi­nois is poised to have legal par­tial birth abor­tion in place in the event that ban is lifted.

Let the word go forth today from this place that if you believe in stand­ing up for women’s fun­da­men­tal rights, Illi­nois is a bea­con of hope in the heart of this nation,” Pritzker beamed as he signed the abor­tion legislation.

Twenty years ago Bill Clin­ton said that “abor­tion should not only be safe and legal, it should be rare.”

Pritzker cam­paigned on elim­i­nat­ing Illi­nois’ con­sti­tu­tional require­ment that its income tax – don’t for­get, some states have no income tax at all – be a flat one. Early in the spring leg­isla­tive ses­sion the Gen­eral Assem­bly passed an amend­ment that vot­ers will decide on next year allow­ing grad­u­ated rates. Money from those new rates won’t be seen for two years, so other taxes are being hiked, includ­ing adding a dol­lar to the state cig­a­rette tax and dou­bling the state gaso­line tax, which are wel­come moves for com­mu­ni­ties bor­der­ing ILL-​inois. More rev­enue is expected for expanded casino gam­bling and legal­iza­tion of recre­ational marijuana.

As I’ve men­tioned many times here, Illi­nois has been los­ing pop­u­la­tion for five straight years. There is no rea­son to believe that Priztker can stop the bleed­ing in Madi­ganstan. Illi­noisans already had the high­est tax bur­den in the nation before his elec­tion. Prop­erty tax rates in Illi­nois are the sec­ond high­est of the states, only New Jer­sey, another bas­ket­case, is worse.

Despite Illi­nois’ finan­cial mess, leg­is­la­tors were still able to find cash for pick­le­ball courts for a wealthy Chicago sub­urb and a dog park at a Chicago high school.

Decline and fall.

John Ruberry reg­u­larly blogs from Illi­nois at Marathon Pun­dit.

By John Ruberry

Five months after being sworn in as governor of Illinois, Democrat JB Pritzker has gotten pretty much everything he asked for as candidate, which isn’t surprising as Democrats enjoy supermajorities in both chambers of the General Assembly.

Running the show in the General Assembly is House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), a master gerrymanderer, who is also the chairman of the state Democratic Party. He has occupied the former post for 34 of the last 36 years and he’s the midwife of Illinois’ considerable financial woes. And he is possibly still the most powerful politician in the state.

Illinois is essentially bankrupt because of its massive underfunded public pension systems. That’s because pensions have been used as a slush fund by Boss Madigan and his cronies. Pension plans have been abused in many ways, including “pension spiking,” which are late-in-career pay raises which boosts retirement pay. Controls were placed on spiking in 2005, but they were eliminated this year.

The Illinois budget for fiscal 2020 is $40 billion. But despite a constitutional requirement, one that is unenforceable unfortunately, it is believed to be, despite the claims of Democrats, to be unbalanced by $1.9 billion.

Outside of the budget–I’ll get back to fiscal matters in a bit–last week Pritzker signed into law an extreme expansion for abortion, which essentially legalized third trimester abortion. While still banned by federal law, Illinois is poised to have legal partial birth abortion in place in the event that ban is lifted.

“Let the word go forth today from this place that if you believe in standing up for women’s fundamental rights, Illinois is a beacon of hope in the heart of this nation,” Pritzker beamed as he signed the abortion legislation.

Twenty years ago Bill Clinton said that “abortion should not only be safe and legal, it should be rare.”

Pritzker campaigned on eliminating Illinois’ constitutional requirement that its income tax–don’t forget, some states have no income tax at all–be a flat one. Early in the spring legislative session the General Assembly passed an amendment that voters will decide on next year allowing graduated rates. Money from those new rates won’t be seen for two years, so other taxes are being hiked, including adding a dollar to the state cigarette tax and doubling the state gasoline tax, which are welcome moves for communities bordering ILL-inois. More revenue is expected for expanded casino gambling and legalization of recreational marijuana.

As I’ve mentioned many times here, Illinois has been losing population for five straight years. There is no reason to believe that Priztker can stop the bleeding in Madiganstan. Illinoisans already had the highest tax burden in the nation before his election. Property tax rates in Illinois are the second highest of the states, only New Jersey, another basketcase, is worse.

Despite Illinois’ financial mess, legislators were still able to find cash for pickleball courts for a wealthy Chicago suburb and a dog park at a Chicago high school.

Decline and fall.

John Ruberry regularly blogs from Illinois at Marathon Pundit.