* Illinois Policy Institute…
Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly went on a spending spree at the end of the recent legislative session, including a $40.6 billion operating budget out of balance by as much as $1.3 billion, a $45 billion capital plan to be partially funded through $20.6 billion of new bond debt and 21 new taxes that will take $4.7 billion from the pockets of Illinois taxpayers.
Pritzker has defended tax and fee hikes as necessary to repair “bridges and roads and highways” that are “falling apart.”
But in both the operating budget and the capital plan, Illinoisans are now obligated for spending that takes a lot of imagination to define as “necessary,” including at least $1.4 billion in waste and pork projects. Included in that tab are dog parks, snowmobile paths, pickleball courts, school playgrounds, swimming pools, arts grants to be handed out by the wife of House Speaker Mike Madigan and much more.
We’ve already talked about their $1.3 billion claim. Still not buying it.
And I think people could agree to disagree on whether some of this spending is waste or pork.
* For instance, here’s their waste in the operating budget…
$40.7 million for the development of bicycle, snowmobile, pedestrian and other recreational paths and trails
$17.3 million for outdoor recreation programs
$13.5 million for the Illinois Arts Council, an organization chaired by Madigan’s wife
Either way, 1.6 percent is pretty darned low.