* From Lawrence Msall of the Civic Federation…
The Tribune’s editorial “Illinois lawmakers should focus not just on taxes but on major spending reforms” is a disappointment. In its criticism of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago’s recent report, it fails to recognize the enormous costs of the state not having a budget for two years.
While the Editorial Board has championed reforms for pensions, Medicaid and other areas of government in the past, the Civic Committee’s report rightly points out that policy fights must not delay the process of balancing Illinois’ budget. Until the state has a budget, savings proposed by the Editorial Board or anyone else are unlikely to occur.
The Tribune’s position not only does harm to our state’s most vulnerable citizens, but also to our state’s reputation and credit rating. The greatest savings our state could realize would be by passing a comprehensive budget and thereby not being subjected to an exorbitant premium on delayed bill payments and not having a near-junk credit rating that is costing us hundreds of millions of dollars in borrowing costs.
Amen to that.
* Let’s revisit the words of Rep. Steve Andersson before he backtracked yesterday…
“I think we all recognize that we are letting the state burn. We’ve destroyed our social-service safety net. In my opinion, at this point, there’s not enough reform to counter the damage we’ve done to the state in the past two years. and so for me, the biggest win is to create stability in this state. I want the [Turnaround Agenda] reforms. I agree with the governor that there are things in there we need to do. But the number one reform in my world is predictability and sustainability. Because people will stay [in the state] if they know what the rules of the game are.”
The one thing this state government has sorely lacked since 2003 is “predictability and sustainability.” Blagojevich was completely unpredictable and refused to do the hard work of governing, which meant the state never got to sustainability. Quinn signed a temporary tax hike into law which undermined both predictability and sustainability. And now Gov. Rauner is demanding yet another temporary tax hike coupled with a temporary property tax freeze.
This needs to end.
The House has already passed a permanent property tax freeze. Maybe they should crank it out again with some reasonable caveats.