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The game continues, but it’s all too real

Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009

* The legislative leaders are meeting today in Chicago. We’ll have more on that later this morning or early in the afternoon

Southland Sen. Christine Radogno (R-Lemont), minority leader for the chamber, said the governor has not met Republican demands for pension and Medicaid reforms to the governmental process before negotiating a final budget.

“None of that has occurred,” she said Tuesday.

There is a possibility the Legislature could be called to Springfield to implement a temporary budget for human services, she said, to avoid these drastic cuts.

“This is an appalling shakedown of the human service providers and constituents,” Radogno said of Quinn’s negotiating tactics. “Threatening them until they feel they have no choice but a tax increase. It’s just unconscionable in my view.”

Keep in mind that serious pension reforms have been on the table since Gov. Quinn’s budget address, and the GOP balked.

And Mark Brown has an answer for Leader Radogno…

…(A)ny realistic look at this situation would indicate we can’t cut our way entirely out of our immediate problem, at least not without abandoning too many of the people state government is supposed to help.

Those are the folks who benefit from the state’s social service programs: women in domestic-violence shelters, people in drug and alcohol rehab, single mothers receiving child-care assistance so they can work, children in foster care and those who care for them, plus many more.

Some will suspect these type programs have been singled out to get sympathy, but the fact is that once you pay for the stuff that the state is pretty much legally obligated to do, this is the area you have left. That’s what state government does. You probably don’t want them turning loose the prisoners or cutting funding to schools.

That’s mostly true. And it’s tough to cut education much more this year anyway because of the federal stimulus rules. Still

State education leaders thought they’d submitted a lean budget proposal to the General Assembly earlier this year, but now it looks like they’ll have to cut closer to the bone.

Members of the Illinois State Board of Education will talk today about ways to slice roughly $400 million from the proposed education budget. The new cuts, which would not affect general state aid or mandated services like special education, were made necessary by the state budget lawmakers approved last month, officials say.

The necessary cuts amount to roughly 50 percent of nonmandated programming expenses.

* But there are more problems ahead. Our quote of the day goes to Sen. Donne Trotter

“The former lieutenant governor is used to throwing rocks, he’s not used to catching them.”

* The threatened cuts certainly look grim. For instance

Because of its budget woes, the state of Illinois will no longer pay for funerals for the indigent.

* More

The president of a Chicago nonprofit agency had a question Tuesday for Gov. Quinn’s administration: Where should he take all the people with disabilities and mental illness who will lose their homes if the state budget is slashed?

“We will not be accused of putting them in the street,” warned Allan Bergman, CEO of the Anixter Center, which could see its state funding cut by a third — about $7 million.

Bergman got no answer.

Drug treatment centers for single mothers and their children, DCFS programs, employee layoffs, etc. But is the pressure working? Not yet

State Rep. Pat Verschoore, D-Milan, for example, was among 42 Democrats who backed the income tax when it fell short of the 60 votes it needed for passage in the House.

He said concerns being raised by social service agencies could help pressure Republican lawmakers to vote for a hike.

“I know I’m not the only one who is receiving calls,” Verschoore said. “Maybe it will help sway people.”

“I think that’s an unlikely scenario,” answered state Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon.

But there are tiny cracks

Rep. Raymond Poe, R-Springfield, said about 60 AFSCME members had come to his office Tuesday to press for a tax hike. The Service Employees International Union, which represents many people employed through local service agencies, and nine officials with local service providers also came by to lobby, Poe said.

“I told every one of them I had an open mind,” he said. “If we (Republicans) are part of negotiations, I will keep an open mind.”

He stopped short, though, of promising to support a tax increase. Poe previously had said he would stick with the House Republican caucus that wants budget “reforms” before supporting higher taxes. Those include things like changes to pension benefits and bringing managed-care programs to Medicaid.

“I hope things work out in two weeks,” Poe said.

Sen. Luechtefeld is starting to see reality

State Sen. David Luechtefeld, R-Okawville said there is an element of fear mongering on the part of the Governor and that politics are undoubtedly at play between Quinn and House Speaker Mike Madigan. That said, Luechtefeld conceded that the threats could become a reality and that he has no expectations on when a more complete budget might be passed, if at all.

“It (these cuts) could take effect,” he said. “The state is in terrible shape, and there’s just an awful lot of people caught in this and that’s a shame.”

* Related…

* Illinois Lawmakers Ponder Dangerous Politics of Tax Hikes

* Quinn looks ready to drag legislators back to Springfield

* Quinn: Legislature should return next week

* Lawmakers to return ‘very shortly’ to revisit tax hike

* Quinn Could Call for Special Session

* An Illinois Senator Wants a Special Session

* How other states approached budget crises

* AFSCME: Cutting jobs won’t fix the problem

- Posted by Rich Miller        

61 Comments
  1. Pingback ArchPundit | On the Precipice of Disaster - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 10:22 am:

    […] […]


  2. - walter sobchak - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 10:25 am:

    All of these social service programs sound great. Perhaps this state, and most states, can no longer afford them. The ability to fund, through coercive taxation, does have limits. I think most citizens are tired of the inefficiencies, politics, and corruption that are part and parcel of government’s intervention into social problem solving. Translating sympathy into government funded programs has proven to be problematic. Using ‘Queen for a Day’ tactics to shame legislators or voters into a tax hike and a preservation of the status quo the last refuge of a politician genetically unable to see the fiscal hand writing on the wall.


  3. - Boxing Cross - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 10:29 am:

    Let’s be clear, nothing The Senate GOP Leader is talking about puts one dime in the till in FY10..zip, zero, nada…..BoxedTom wants 2 new commissions…again not a dime in the till….give the both what they want and there still is no new cash.
    When will they face the real truth. It is a national problem. The same scandal that took down the banks, car makers, workers, etc. are taking down the states. The WSJ wrote about a $240 billion combined deficit on Monday.
    Wake UP


  4. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 10:31 am:

    Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, in the “How the Other States…” link:

    –”If we lose our sense of discipline now, in no time we’ll look just like Michigan or Illinois or, heaven forbid, California,” Daniels said.–

    Our honor has been sullied — but our problems have been solved. For all history, in times of crisis, leaders have looked externally to solve internal problems.

    Here it is: A joint Illinois/Michigan invasion — like Grant from the North and Sherman from the East — “On to Indianapolis.”

    Question is: When you get Indiana, what have you got?


  5. - Macbeth - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 10:33 am:

    ===
    Question is: When you get Indiana, what have you got?
    ===

    A lot more money, obviously.


  6. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 10:35 am:

    When you get Indiana, what have you got?

    A Family Tree that doesn’t fork.


  7. - Balance - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 10:35 am:

    Quinn is proclaiming the need for a tax increase to stave off $9 billion in potential cuts.

    By Quinn’s own projections, his tax increase plan will provide about $3 billion per year.

    Let’s assume that he is able to convince the legislature to approve his income tax increase.

    As he is basking in his victory, his reward is to tell all the social service providers, “Guess what, your cuts are only going to be two-thirds of what we told you two weeks ago.”


  8. - montrose - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 10:43 am:

    Balance:

    Quinn has never said his tax hike would take care of everything. Pension reform/delayed payments, cuts, etc., have always been part of the mix to balance the budget. In Quinn’s introduced budget, most social services saw some level of cut in funding. Only the delusional are thinking a budget package will be passed that will maintain FY09 funding levels for these programs, but there is a huge gap between managing a 10-20% cut and a 75% - 100% cut.


  9. - Boxing Cross - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 10:44 am:

    I forgot to mention how exciting the HGOP twitter message was a little while ago.


  10. - Cassandra - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 10:47 am:

    So, our Pat met with AFSCME yesterday and, predictably, they told him to take a hike. Or rather, they told him to go get a tax hike. It’s sounds as though the meeting was civil. They didn’t have him for lunch, although, given his lack of negotiating skills, they certainly could have.

    Now, he could do a Mayor Daley and up the ante with some layoff notices. But this is the guy who
    couldn’t bring himself to fire more than 4 or 5 of the 3000 Blago appointees a really comfortable living in state government. About one a month.

    Looks like the state bureaucracy is safe, in its entirety.

    I like the idea of a temporary budget reconfigured to fund human services. And, given that the state is still collecting mucho taxpayer money each month, that’s where I’d like to see my money go. Not to a porky state bureaucracy. Not to overpriced contracts for the connected. Not to the hiring of yet more six figure patronage employees related to Dem pols. Not to multi-tiered state administrative structures and really expensive leases for state buildings–owned by some pol’s uncle twice removed. Do we have to be supporting entire extended families like in Chicago?

    And while he’s at it, maybe out Pat could look at closing some corporate loopholes. Well over a billion a year there, according to many. Too much work probably. Quinn, Stermer, and his band of Blago budgeteers prefer the whine-whine approach.
    It’s a lot easier. Maybe if they do that long enough they won’t have to make any cuts at all. We taxpayers will take care of all of it.


  11. - Easy - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 10:49 am:

    Boxing Cross-

    The problem is Dems didn’t take any action to prepare for this. 6 years of runaway spending and neglect. Take a look at Indiana, they are getting through this.

    When it comes to fiscal discipline, there was no difference between Rod, Emil or MJM.


  12. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 10:49 am:

    === All of these social service programs sound great. Perhaps this state, and most states, can no longer afford them. ===

    You and others miss the point.

    1. The first question isn’t fiscal, it is legal. In the case of foster children, these are kids that the state has SEIZED from their homes and taken custody of. We have a custodial responsibility - like a parent - to protect, provide and care for them. That obligation is a legal one that has been upheld by federal courts.

    2. The second question isn’t fiscal, its moral. What is our moral responsibility as a society to victims of rape, domestic violence, elder abuse, and child abuse? Do we have a moral responsibility to prevent what we can, and heal what we cannot? What is our moral responsibility to people born with developmental disabilities, blindness, deafness? What is our moral responsibility to the 1 in 11 facing malnutrition, more than half of whom are children and seniors? Do we fund food banks? Or do we allow them to starve to death?

    3. Only then do you get to the fiscal question, which isn’t just “Can we afford this?” but “What happens if we don’t?” And study after study shows that for every dollar we CUT from preventative community-based programs COSTS taxpayers $6 to $8 down the road.

    Wanna cut funding for home care for seniors? Fine. Be prepared to pay seven times as much when they go into a nursing home, and more for your health insurance when our emergency rooms start to overflow.

    Wanna eliminate $56 million in substance abuse prevention and treatment? Fine. But with 1 in 11 teens using illegal drugs, be prepared to pay more for in property taxes for your local schools and local jails, and more in state taxes to fund the welfare system when they drop out of high school.

    Wanna slash funding for domestic violence prevention? Fine. But with 300,000 battered women each year, employers better be ready to pay for more sick days and lost work, taxpayers better be ready to pay more for health insurance because of the strain on our health system, etc, etc, etc.

    Now do you get it?


  13. - Rambler - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 10:50 am:

    From the sj-r article:

    Bayer and union representatives met with state officials Tuesday afternoon about possible money-saving ideas, including furlough days and a pay freeze….

    Quinn spokeswoman Katie Ridgway said the administration and AFSCME had a “good meeting” Tuesday. However, Ridgway said no agreement was reached on any concessions and no further meetings are scheduled.

    “We all agree that the legislature needs to pass additional revenue,” Ridgway said. “The union said it is going to continue advocating for a tax increase.”
    —-
    So that’s how Quinn & Co. define a good meeting. Must be grading on a curve.


  14. - always anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 10:55 am:

    why is it that pension reforms are never mentioned concerning the house and the senate?


  15. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 10:57 am:

    === The problem is Dems didn’t take any action to prepare for this. 6 years of runaway spending and neglect. Take a look at Indiana, they are getting through this. ===

    Yes, let’s take a look at Indiana, shall we?

    - 3.4% State income tax rate:
    - Additional 1 - 3% COUNTY income tax;
    - 7% sales tax rate, which includes a wide range of services;

    Sounds a whole lot like HB 750, doesn’t it?

    The remainder of Indiana’s taxes can be found here.


  16. - Sewanee - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 11:01 am:

    Yellow Dog Democrat,

    I agree that we have a moral responsibility to care for those in need, but I don’t think that the government needs to be the administrator. Throwing 50% cuts at the last minute is irresponsible, but I think it would be a good idea to try to transition some of these institutions into being less dependent on government funding.

    I think most people recognize the importance of charitable work and donate to local organizations. Sure, a tough economy means it’s tough to find donors, but money isn’t the only way to do help.

    We can pay a little more in taxes and send government money to these kind of organizations. Or organizations could rely on the community to make donations of money, time, or in-kind contributions to help fulfill a moral calling to help.

    Effectiveness and viability of a charitable organization takes so much more than a check from the state. Engaging a community to give money, time, and talent is a surer sign that we’re fulfilling our moral responsibility.

    So let’s not slash funding to these critical services this year, but let’s establish a plan to transition moral responsibility away from the legislature back into the hands of the community.


  17. - Bill - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 11:03 am:

    Maybe we could stack the indigent bodies in that mausoleum Quinn now occupies. How much money is wasted keeping that dump open and barely livable? Knock it down and put in a parking lot. Let Quinn pay his own rent.


  18. - Boxing Cross - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 11:04 am:

    Always:
    Pension reforms were mentioned. BoxedTom’s guys voted “no” in committee at the end of session.

    BTW TugBoat Andy’s Twitter won’t get you to this tell you nothing story… but Drudge does….
    “June 16, 2009
    For Some in Illinois, Talk of Reform Was Just That
    By MONICA DAVEY
    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — If anything good was going to come out of the arrest and removal of Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, it was supposed to be in the stack of legislation now awaiting the signature of the new governor.

    A reform commission was appointed by the governor, Patrick J. Quinn, soon after Mr. Blagojevich’s impeachment from office in January. State lawmakers drew up their own Joint Committee on Government Reform. And citizen-led reform groups optimistically sprouted up across the state.

    But now, with the legislative session over, some of the biggest backers of change say a historic opportunity has been lost, that too little is being cleaned up in a state that has become a national example of political corruption at its extreme. …..”


  19. - Princess - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 11:12 am:

    rambler “So that’s how Quinn & Co. define a good meeting. Must be grading on a curve”.

    Actually much more productive than when Ryan bullied or during the Blagojevich ‘bird flying’ show down.

    And kudos to Poe who willing not only met with workers showing up at his door but seriously was willing to listen to their concerns.

    Amazes me how some other lawmakers seem to find time to get a mic stuck under their nose/ or take phone interviews from reporters, which ever the case, is yet can’t find a few minutes to give workers their ear.


  20. - FED UP - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 11:20 am:

    Pension reform including the House Senate and executive offices need to be a part of this budget going forward. Combining and consolidating state agencys needs to happen, some layoffs need to occur, I still think a 5 more casinos 2 in Chicago and slots and video poker at the airports will help and then we can discuss a temp income tax hike that winds down before expiring 4.5% one year 4% two years 3.5% two years or even keeping it at 3.5% going forward. But just handing the same incompetants that got us into this mess or did nothing to help fix it for the last 6years boatloads of new cas is wrong they will just continue wasteful spending and be back in 10 years saying we are broke we need to raise taxs


  21. - stilldontgetit - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 11:24 am:

    Yellow dog,
    Most of the problems you described WERE taken care of by private organizations until the Government took them over. Check out Catholic charities and what it costs for them to feed someone as opposed to the Government doing it.
    People can’t find work and you write about substance abuse programs? If our taxburden were lowered maybe the parents could take over the job of the Government in those cases?
    What is moral responsibility to our grandkids and their kids? How much do we have for the people who live in the state now? The law says that Illinois has to have a balanced budget. The Democrats have been in control for 7 years now, how many times has the state met this mandate? And still we have no idea of how many people enrolled into kid care illegally, how much we owe for them of even if they are legal citizens.

    Do we have a moral right to NOT pay for people who break the law by being here to help bring down costs of the people who are citizens? I know I am a nut for asking but consider the costs of illegals in prison and schools and our healthcare systems and our court systems. could we find the courage to at least deport the ones a judge has mandated have to go? How about if they commit a crime ant crime we send them home? I know you will say that is the feds job not ours but how much would we save? BTW the reason Quinn can’t sell the tax hike is it’s like the boy who cried wolf. He has been promoting big government for so long that nobody believes that there is no room to cut. Start with the illegal kidcare that we impeached a governor over. Then people might start to believe.


  22. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 11:26 am:

    ===Most of the problems you described WERE taken care of by private organizations until the Government took them over. Check out Catholic charities and what it costs for them to feed someone as opposed to the Government doing it.===

    You’ve demonstrated a gross misunderstanding of how the Illinois budget works. Catholic Charities gets a ton of money from the state budget to do those very things which the state does not do on its own. The state only partially subsidizes the charities, so it’s a win for the taxpayers as well.


  23. - stilldontgetit - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 11:31 am:

    Rich

    Bush wanted to expand the role of Catholic charities and other organizations like it and was blocked by the separation of church and state people . Local Church’s used to provide for the needy in their parishes regardless of you religion. It was President Obama who just proposed to cut the exemption for charitable giving to have who take over? No, I do understand


  24. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 11:36 am:

    You’re talking federal and I’m talking state. Get on the same page, please.


  25. - Easy - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 11:38 am:

    YDD-
    Ok, let’s compare property tax rates than too, IN are much lower.

    the point is every state is being impacted by the recession, some have prepared themselves well, some haven’t.

    IL spent way more than it needed over the last 6 years and now we have a structural deficit. There was no fiscal discipline on behalf of Rod and his two campaign chairs–Emil and Mike.


  26. - montrose - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 11:41 am:

    ++Effectiveness and viability of a charitable organization takes so much more than a check from the state. Engaging a community to give money, time, and talent is a surer sign that we’re fulfilling our moral responsibility.++

    Every service provider - every one - relies on a mix of support from the state, other government bodies, from foundations, from the corporate community, and from individuals. They hold fund raisers, they do solicitations, they search high and low for the cash and in-kind donations that allow them to do their work. We need to stop this myth that the “community” is not supporting this work. Moreover, we are the state. We are the community. Our taxes is one way for us as a broader community to fulfill our moral obligation to provide the basic services that make us a humane society.


  27. - Princess - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 11:45 am:

    While I’m sure the debate between Indiana and Illinois is worth some consideration on some levels, however I fail to see where a state with over 12 million citizens can be compared to another with less than half of it’s population?


  28. - stilldontgetit - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 11:45 am:

    Its called block grant money to the states. I am on the same page. It is also the philosophy followed. Is government better equipped to do the job or can we allow Government money to go to religious organizations to do the same work? I believe in the more local groups from the neighborhood or small towns. People are very generous but have been taught that only government will do the things Yellow dog call our moral responsibility. That is nonsense!


  29. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 11:49 am:

    ===People are very generous but have been taught that only government will do the things Yellow dog call our moral responsibility. ===

    No, they haven’t. Why do I know this? Because Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services and all the other groups that get these state grants must raise much of their money (and all of their admin $) from private donations.

    stilldontgetit is a perfect screen name for you.


  30. - Sewanee - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 11:50 am:

    ===We need to stop this myth that the “community” is not supporting this work.===

    That’s not at all what I said. I said, “I think most people recognize the importance of charitable work and donate to local organizations.”

    Right, taxes are one way of supporting this work. I think, evdienced by the current panic, these organizations are too dependent on this one source.


  31. - walter sobchak - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 11:51 am:

    Not to criticize the great and wonderful Oz, but a different reading of the email you j’accuse is that it suggested that private organizations filled the role government tries to fill today and that Catholic Charities can feed the needy more cheaply than government can. The comment that ‘it’s a win for taxpayers as well’ would require more than a throwaway line to make a simple reader like me to understand its implications.


  32. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 11:53 am:

    walter, I can’t hold everybody’s hand on every point. Do a tiny bit of research first and then come back.


  33. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 12:01 pm:

    I fail to see where a state with over 12 million citizens can be compared to another with less than half of it’s population?

    Maybe that’s the solution; send 3 or 4 million of our citizens east, to establish equilibrium.


  34. - anon - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 12:05 pm:

    Our agency has just been informed that the state will no longer be subsidizing daycare for our kids. Something is starting to hit the fan.

    We have also recieved letters stating that any and all positions could be subject to lay off.


  35. - Rambler - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 12:07 pm:

    It’s interesting that “progressive” Pat Quinn doesn’t even mention a progressive income tax. Putting this on the ballot would require a 3/5 vote, which is what he’s going to need anyway.
    Only 7 of the 50 states have a flat tax.


  36. - walter sobchak - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 12:21 pm:

    Most who read Capitol Fax Blog know of your opinions on this subject. Extending your opinion to a qualitative judgment on what would be a ‘win’ for taxpayers might require more an epiphany based on emotion as to the role of government, than actual quantitative research or hand holding.


  37. Pingback IL Budget Cuts Wipe Out Cost-Saving TASC Child Welfare Services; Quinn, Cullerton, Madigan, Radogno, Cross to Meet Again Wednesday « TASC Public Policy Blog - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 12:23 pm:

    […] Once again on Wednesday, Governor Pat Quinn, Senate President John Cullerton, House Speaker Michael Madigan, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, and House Minority Leader Tom Cross are meeting.  The Capitol Fax blog offers frequent updates on these proceedings. […]


  38. - ding - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 12:32 pm:

    Arrgh.
    Does anyone actually know how direct service orgs actually *work*? It’s a lot more complicated than setting up a soup line and giving away styrofoam cups for free in some church parking lot.

    Yes. Our revenue (which *isn’t* profit) is mostly state/federally funded. But those funds have strings. Some streams allow for staff salaries, some streams allow for M&G (rent, supplies, equipment, facilities), some streams (especially if they are part of matched funds) are *only* for the direct provision of services. This still doesn’t cover the entirety of our costs, even though it represents at least 70-80% of our operational budgets.

    Individual, foundation and corporate money is less restricted but only comprise a smaller percentage of our business. If state/federal money disappears, the M&G burden of those eliminated services gets transferred to our other programs which are, in turn, jeopardized. In other words, matching funds dry up, private donations can’t cover the cost and corporations and foundations (which have their own rules and guidelines on giving) disappear because there’s nothing to fund!

    Jeebus. You want to talk about Catholic Charities? You weren’t sitting next to the E.D. last year when he was worrying about the more than a couple million dolalrs he was owed by the state.

    Yes, orgs like mine do ‘charitable’ work but it’s also necessary work the state *cannot* provide, for whatever reason - lack of capacity, sector guidelines (like confidentiality and treatment methodologies), lack of flexibility or just general lack. So they subcontract to *us*. There usually is not a great big check we receive in a lump sum that we can allocate as we see fit. (We wish there was.) We incur large, upfront costs that we submit for reimbursement. And, lately, the state has been running 60-90 days late with payments.

    So please, please, please - enough with the pseudo-advice on how the non profit sector can run itself better or how the state money we receive is somehow a juicy *extra* unless you know how our business actually *works.*

    (sorry for my tone. i’ve been reading stuff like this for the past two months and i’m getting frustrated that no one is bothering to do even a basic amount of research. call a service provider and ask how stuff works!)


  39. - Dudeman - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 12:34 pm:

    We have a Dem House and Senate and a Dem Gov. But it’s the GOP’s fault????? I love the argument that taxes are better in Illinois, so we should raise them. We have the privelage of having every tax possible, were some states don’t actually max every revenue stream. We’re trying to. The one good thing we have is a low flat income tax. Let’s increase that by 50% and then watch the state slowly but surely circle the drain. If I wanted to start a business, this would be the bottom quartile of states I would even consider.
    So keep arguing on why we need all these state programs and they can’t be cut at all, while businesses close. As long as people and businesses are free they will leave this state. Thus we will slowly bleed away businesses to pay for a govt, that in many cases is extremely inefficient and wasteful (visit any state agency for details). Look out Michigan, we’re right behind you.


  40. - Cassandra - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 12:54 pm:

    Rambler is right. But apparently our Pat isn’t as interested as you might think he would be in progressivity of the tax structure…despite all the hype about helping the unfortunate. If I recall correctly he caved right away when the proposal was made to lower his proposed exemption. And as to corporate loopholes…..too much of an effort…or worse. Corporations can still contribute, ya know. Cash, planes, meals.

    I could support a small temporary income tax increase if it came with substantive, transparent cuts and a higher exemption to take the burden off the lower middle class. Sure, it would take a little work to streamline state government. But it appears to have taken Cullerton only a few weeks to reduce proposed cuts from $2 billion to $1 billion, none of which he apparently plans to give back to taxpayers. Give him a few more weeks, and he should be able to come up with enough to increase the deduction back to Pat’s original proposal and then some. That’s probably as close as we are going to get to progressivity from this group of greedy Dems.


  41. - anon - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 12:54 pm:

    “You’ve demonstrated a gross misunderstanding of how the Illinois budget works. Catholic Charities gets a ton of money from the state budget to do those very things which the state does not do on its own. The state only partially subsidizes the charities, so it’s a win for the taxpayers as well.”

    Indeed. Again, I work for a private agency, one of the largest in Illinois. We are very dependent on state funding. Our area could lose up to 10,000 jobs if the cuts go through


  42. - Ghost - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 1:02 pm:

    Let me go back to YDD point numebr 3 (which i wanted to write about but he beat me to it)

    Failing to provide various social services costs us more money in the long run dealing with the crime etc which are the artifact of failing to intervene and address problems at the early stage.

    if you just rely on voluntary contributions and donations then you woefully fail to meet the needs of the problem and end up paying out substantialy more money later on to deal with the artifact of the failure to address the problem.

    Sticking you head in the sand and hoping a charity and private donors will fix things is not a solution, its just the seed of future budget problems from the need to build more prisons, hire more police, increased insurance costs etc.


  43. - Legaleagle - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 1:14 pm:

    Caring for others as a moral imperative used to be accomplished primarily by the family, religious organizations, and charities. Government policies helped break down the family structure, and now these other wonderful institutions have become addicted to taxpayer money. It’s like the self-reliant but poor African fishermen I encountered in the Peace Corps: international aid money actually made them lazy and dependent, and helped breakdown their society for the worse. Quinn is too liberal to see any solution but raising the taxes of the producers. But we must break the cycle of dependence; otherwise we’ll face the same problem a few years from now - the social entitlements costs will always keep growing faster than inflation or tax revenue growth. More money in the hands of the same people who have so badly mismanaged things the last six years? No way. Even their numbers on the ‘deficit’ keep changing.Pass a streamlined temporary budget and let’s see where the economy is in January.


  44. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 1:18 pm:

    ===Caring for others as a moral imperative used to be accomplished primarily by the family, religious organizations, and charities.===

    I keep seeing this argument used, so I have a question for y’all: How long ago would you say we’re talking about here? Exactly.


  45. - Secret Square - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 1:49 pm:

    Legaleagle, I don’t think government policies “broke down” or changed the family structure so much as did societal changes in the role of women and sexual attitudes.

    Economic shifts played a part too. It used to be that just about any able-bodied man who could read, write and do simple math (and even some who couldn’t) could find work in their community that paid enough to support a family — on a farm, in a factory or mine, etc. Most women could also find ways to make extra money if needed, by taking in sewing or laundry, cleaning houses, getting clerical jobs, etc. This made it possible for extended families to live close together in the same community for generations. It also enabled the younger generation to stay close to home and promoted stable communities in which everyone knew their neighbors, everyone watched out for the kids, and kids knew what was expected of them. (Of course there were downsides to this kind of economic system but that’s another story.)

    Now, a college degree of some kind is virtually required in order to earn a living wage, and many people have to move hundreds if not thousands of miles away from their family of origin to find work, and they have to move more frequently. How can you rely upon family to help you with child care, etc. if they are three states away? How can you rely on your neighbor for help if you don’t even know their name?

    What government has done, I think, is to RESPOND to these shifts AFTER they were well underway, in order to contain the bad effects (e.g. children being unsupervised) and promote the good effects (women advancing their careers and educations.)

    It is true government can’t do everything, and there is a limit to how much we can be taxed. Still, I’m not so sure we can go back to relying totally on family, church and community unless we can somehow turn the economic and social clock back 50 or 60 years; bring back all the family farms, mines, brewries, small factories, etc., and make it possible for people to make a living by their bare hands again; and re-stigmatize divorce and single parenthood.


  46. - Secret Square - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 2:05 pm:

    Also, if I understand correctly, the main reason the deficit numbers keep changing is because the amount of money coming in (revenue) keeps shrinking more than was anticipated?


  47. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 2:15 pm:

    Just as we have witnessed people owning homes they cannot afford, cars they cannot afford, and lifestyles they cannot afford - we also have governments we cannot afford.

    The tough decisions in each case were put off because available credit delayed tough decisions. As we continued to live off of our credit, we compounded our doomsday by destroying our credit too.

    Inevitably, doomsday is here, but citizens are conditioned to not believe it.

    Where were the proactive policies? Where were the safety nets? Where were all those things we had believed were already paid? Just as Madoff’s pyramid would inevitably collapse, so has the government’s pyramid.

    To those who are focused to raising taxes to solve this problem, please be reminded that yes, the horses are out of the barn - but the damn barn doors are still open and the ruling party in Illinois has shown no interest in closing them. The horses of fiscal doom are running roughshod, and citizens would like to at least see some common sense from their elected representatives. If this moment isn’t a clarion call to reform our budget process, what is? If this moment isn’t causing our representatives to address the structural deficits destroying our state, what moment do we have to have?

    And we are not simply being trampled to death by fiscal mishap - but also by political corruption. Once again, the horse are out of the barn, Governors Ryan and Blagojevich, and Senator Roland Burris are poster children for political corruption from our highest offices. And once again, we are not seeing those damn barn doors being closed. In every US state that has experienced the kind of political corruption we have witnessed over the past decade, we see reforms and ethics passed to close those barn doors. But not in Illinois, right?

    So, a fateful combination of incompetence and corruption, one political party in total control of every statewide elected office, and a decade of can kicking, has met with an economic cycle where the inevitable happens - a downturn. Talk about bad timing! The worse people at the worse time to demand leadership. It is a fateful combination that will set Illinois back decades.

    Like GM - Illinois taxpayers can end up bailing this disgusting state government out, but what are they going to get for their troubles and costs? Not a thing! It is this realization that has paralyzed this state at this time, and it isn’t such a bad reaction either. Our state leaders do not deserve the trust Illinoians used to have for them. These bad politicians deserve the scorn they have worked so hard to defer. It is everyone’s doomsday, and if any elected official thinks they will escape from this unscathed, they are sorely mistaken.


  48. - Ghost - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 3:22 pm:

    === we also have governments we cannot afford.===

    We can afford the government vey easily; we can not afford to live in an anarchasit society or just hope somone else will regualte food, water, criminal conduct for free out of the goodness of their heart.

    We can’t afford to save 1 dollar addressing problems early on so that we pay 10 dollars in costs to fix the escalated problem later on.

    I find it fascinating as a side point how many people who are opposed to abortion are also demnding the removal of the programs which attempt to service the unwanted and uncared for newborns we do have.

    Leageagle, the society where charity was handled by the church is the one we fled when we declared ourselves independet. We also moved on past debtor prison and only allowing those with land to vote.


  49. - Jor-El - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 3:25 pm:

    When is reality going to hit these people? People need to understand that the layoff threats are very, very real. The cuts are coming whether or not ttax increase happens — it’s just a matter of size and scope. The state bureaucracy is finalizing layoff plans literally as everyone else speaks. Ask any HR person or top manager in an agency. They are much farther along than most seem to realize.

    Here’s a bit of a reality check:

    1. The tax increase does not come even close to fix the problem, it only lessens the level of catastrophe. Even with a hike, there is still a $4 billion hole in the budget.

    2. In two years, a sizable portion of any tax increase is wiped out because the Federal Stimulus funds dry up. Even if tax revenues rebound in the economy, we are in a major cutting environment for at least the medium term future.

    3. If the pension funding is reduced or put off to help close things, all that does is make next year that much worse.

    Not every story has a happy ending, people


  50. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 4:35 pm:

    You use government like a hammer, using it to fix every problem or challenge and claiming that if we do not, we will decend to some kind of anarchist’s hell. There is no proof of what you are claiming. There are no groups advocating what you are claiming they advocate. You have a bunch of strawman arguments and you are looking sillier than those scarecrows.

    Smaller, more affordable government is a must. While you may be content with a supersized four-wheel-drive SUV luxury truck government, the majority of Illinoisians would prefer the market-based hybrid version of government. What has been happening over the past few weeks is good. People need to know where their money is going.

    Your thinking is obsolete.


  51. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 4:42 pm:

    ==Smaller, more affordable government is a must. While you may be content with a supersized four-wheel-drive SUV luxury truck government, the majority of Illinoisians would prefer the market-based hybrid version of government.==

    What does that even mean?

    There are actual line items and programs you can cite for serious reductions or elimination without strange metaphors.

    The last number I heard was $9 billion. Have at it.

    Your posting is obtuse.


  52. - montrose - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 4:45 pm:

    ++While you may be content with a supersized four-wheel-drive SUV luxury truck government, the majority of Illinoisians would prefer the market-based hybrid version of government.++

    I am getting so very tired of truth through assertion. Saying that we have a bloated, gilded host of government programs over and over does not make it true. It has been pointed out ad nauseum that we have the lowest number of state employees per capita in the nation. The services we provided that are on the chopping block make us a decent, humane society. There is nothing healthy about threatening the lives and livelihood of the thousands of families in Illinois that will be impacted by these draconian cuts.


  53. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 5:23 pm:

    VM, your very good at using imagery, metaphor, song and other tools to describe for us all that is wrong in Illinois. Here is my sincere request: please use your skills to paint a picture of what you believe Illinois government should look like, even if it is a perfect world scenario or pie in the sky. The constant “You idiots don’t understand it” we get from you daily isn’t helping to advance the dialogue.

    Tell us the kinds of customers Illinois would have, the clients it would serve, the prices it would charge. Weave into it whatever political philosophy you support.

    Instead of harping on about everything that displeases you, tell us what your solution looks like and why yours is the proper course to take.

    Thanks.


  54. - Bookworm - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 6:00 pm:

    Comparisons to other states are useful, but only up to a point. Some are misleading.

    Take Dudeman’s insistence that we will become just like Michigan if we raise taxes. Well, one reason Michigan is in such bad shape is because of its near-total dependence on the auto industry. When that collapsed, Detroit, and with it the entire state, collapsed as well. New York lost huge amounts of tax revenue because of the Wall Street collapse. California suffered from the dot-com and real estate collapse. By contrast, there is no one single industry that Chicago is equally dependent upon; it seems to be fairly diversified.

    Or take the notion of Texas as a low-tax business paradise. Yes, Texas has no individual or corporate income tax, and its metro areas, especially those with high-tech industries, have weathered the recession quite well. However, (according to Wikipedia) Texas did enact a 1 percent gross reciepts tax a couple of years back — that’s right, they actually passed a verision of the dreaded, business killing, GRT. Even Texans realize they have to raise revenue somewhere.


  55. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 7:38 pm:

    Very well said Secret Square. Thanks.


  56. - Bookworm - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 8:46 pm:

    Depending on who you believe, if the GA holds firm against any tax hike, and the “doomsday” budget cuts go through as planned, then, a year or two down the road, Illinois will be either

    1. a more efficient, business friendly, and less corrupt state, more attractive to entrepreneurs and working families; or

    2. a hellhole of collapsed and neglected infrastructure, crime, poverty, and unemployment, and a shrinking middle class divided even more sharply between haves and have-nots.

    I guess we won’t know for sure which scenario comes true until it happens. Or maybe we will land somewhere in the middle.


  57. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jun 17, 09 @ 9:41 pm:

    ===Just as we have witnessed people owning homes they cannot afford, cars they cannot afford, and lifestyles they cannot afford - we also have governments we cannot afford===

    Are you Harry Dean Stanton’s character from Repo Man?


  58. - Ghost - Thursday, Jun 18, 09 @ 1:22 am:

    VM wants the luxury 4×4 government, he just wants someone else to pay for it.


  59. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jun 18, 09 @ 8:44 am:

    VM wants the luxury 4×4 government, he just wants someone else to pay for it.

    Nope - no one needs that.


  60. - Anon - Thursday, Jun 18, 09 @ 9:03 am:

    ==However, (according to Wikipedia) Texas did enact a 1 percent gross reciepts tax a couple of years back — that’s right, they actually passed a verision of the dreaded, business killing, GRT.==

    Actually, they did that as a replacement to their corporate income tax, which they repealed at the same time.


  61. - Jess69 - Tuesday, Jun 23, 09 @ 8:25 pm:

    Leagleagle- (I wish I had read this blog earlier to comment) “…Government policies helped break down the family structure, and now these other wonderful institutions have become addicted to taxpayer money”.

    As a provider of social services for seventeen years I feel this comment is not only innaccurate but misinformed. Let me assure you that the mission of most social service providers is to preserve and strengthen families whenever possible. Let me also assure you that these so called “addicted” institutions stretch the funds they do receive to serve as many families and individuals as they can on very tight budgets. It is not as if they are overflowing in money-many agencies are not able to meet needs adequately with the funds available to them. Please do not speak of what you do not know- I invite you to spend a day with me as a front line social service provider to see the benefits and the challenges porviders face on a daily basis. I cannot even begin to fathom what the effects of these proposed cuts will bring. It is a sad day for the state of Illinois.


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