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The knee-jerk dissing of Illinois is getting old

Friday, Jun 25, 2021

* Background is here if you need it. Center Square

House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch said the fact that all three rating agencies have changed their tune on Illinois is “proof we can support families, invest in underserved communities, and be fiscally prudent at the same time.”

[Bill Bergman, director of research for Truth in Accounting] disagreed, noting that Illinois is spending more and not paying down debt.

“The state’s tailwinds have helped it, but I don’t believe the state is being fiscally prudent by growing its spending at a time when the debts are so massive,” Bergman said.

* From the CTBA…

Yet, despite obtaining the aforesaid new federal and state funding, and the promising year-to-year increase in education funding, the FY 2022 General Fund budget that passed into law over Memorial Day weekend still holds overall net spending on core services in FY 2022 to an amount that’s $100 million less in nominal dollars than in FY 2021. Which means that, after adjusting for inflation, General Fund spending on services in FY 2022 is now scheduled to be $688 million less in real terms than in FY 2021.

The state’s federal loans are being paid back. And then there’s this

Comptroller Susana Mendoza said the report vindicates the “responsible approach” taken in paying down the backlog of bills “from $16.7 billion in 2017 to $3.4 billion today.”

* More dramatics, this time from a GOP state Rep…


It’s not time to celebrate in the streets. The longterm fiscal outlook still isn’t great. But expressing a little relief for this respite is certainly justifiable.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

36 Comments
  1. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 10:41 am:

    Fiscal responsibility is not the right wing’s or ILGOP’s/GOP’s goal. If it was, there would have been outrage and action over the debt explosion and soaring deficits under Rauner and Trump. The national debt grew more per capita under Trump than Obama. We get crickets from the professional fiscal scolds, who pretend to be angry and concerned only when the opposition party is in power.


  2. - Sling - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 10:46 am:

    States with more people in them have the largest amount of debt. States with the least people in them have the lowest amount of debt. All the states have debt.


  3. - hisgirlfriday - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 10:52 am:

    Rivian just announced it hired its 1,900th employee at its Normal plant. They are expected to hire 500 more by the end of the year and as many as 1500-2000 more by the end of 2022.

    All this economic growth happened with no thanks to Republicans like Bruce Rauner constantly badmouthing Illinois just to score political points.


  4. - H-W - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 10:53 am:

    =It’s not time to celebrate in the streets. The longterm fiscal outlook still isn’t great. But expressing a little relief for this respite is certainly justifiable.=

    Exactly. And lest we forget, we could be much further along if one party had not spent extraordinary time, effort and money, preventing efforts by the other to increase revenues.

    Yin and Yang (revenues and expenditures, teaching and learning. etc.) always require each other for successful outcomes. Reducing expenditures and debt without raising revenues demonstrates one party to be fiscally responsible, and the other a party of hollow bluster.


  5. - Lynn S. - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 10:59 am:

    @Sling,

    Might be curious to do a study comparing each state’s debt on a per capita basis, and do we see any trends regarding per Capita debt vs. per capita income.

    I.e., is it a situation that per capita debts are roughly the same throughout the U.S.? Does every state have an income to debt ratio that’s roughly the same? How do these ratios compare to population growth or decline? Or age distribution within state? (Do younger states have more debt, or is it states with a higher population of people age 60+?)

    To any bright young students who start calculating: I don’t expect to be listed as a coauthor, but I would like to be one of the first people listed as “persons who graciously provided advice and assistance.”

    Thanks, me


  6. - Moe Berg - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 11:05 am:

    The GQP doesn’t have a positive governing philosophy to offer. Just reflexive opposition to everything, with one exception: lots of ideas for how to suppress votes.

    And, when your only plan is to preserve a corrupt and inequitable status quo, preventing those who want to change it from exercising their franchise is imperative.

    In Illinois, it mostly just bleating from the likes of people like @MartyForIL. In other states and nationally, it’s a dangerous threat to American democracy.


  7. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 11:08 am:

    It’s not like the GOP cares much about Lincoln anymore anyhow.


  8. - BTO2 - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 11:10 am:

    Reminds me of Illinois has worst roads in nation stuff. Traveled to Minn, SD and Iowa. Most of the 4 lane roads were same or worse than our highways.


  9. - Cheryl44 - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 11:12 am:

    Marty “for” Illinois? It doesn’t seem that way.


  10. - Bruce( no not him) - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 11:12 am:

    What do you expect? It’s not like they have anything positive of their own to talk about.


  11. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 11:13 am:

    Both parties have done a poor job of managing finances in Illinois and nationally. One is just very hypocritical about it. Good financial news is bad news for the party who only cares about debt as a political weapon.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 11:34 am:

    To the post,

    Michael J. Madigan was the longest serving Speaker in Illinois history. Keeping it about Illinois, the senate president office hasn’t been one held by a Republican since Pate.

    If you look at the landscape of “legislative Illinois”, the governing by Republicans, and ignoring for a moment the super minority caucus statuses, is not something legislative Republicans in Illinois know all that much about.

    This isn’t an excuse or crutch. My point in this exercise is preconditioned thinking. Be it “Rod” or “Madigan” or “Chicago” or whatever bad can be rallied around, the preconditioning is one of negative thoughts. Even Bruce Rauner, while dismantling Illinois by refusing a budget, knew… 3 is easier than 60 in the House, so instead of enlisting partners, making Raunerites ones with skin in the game, Rauner used Dunkin, Franks, and Drury… denying again the process of governing to legislative Republicans.

    It’s not that Durkin doesn’t know about governing, heck, Durkin was a committee chairman for Speaker Lee A. Daniels AND Michael J. Madigan. Durkin knows.

    What other folks don’t know is how to see being a member of Illinois’ General Assembly as a position to try to bring positive governing to the business of legislating.

    Instead of tossing papers, how about writing budgets to push. Instead of tweeting child drawings, how about draw where common ground can be found and impact Illinois as a partner. Instead of bad mouthing Illinois, see where the bad can be better… but do so with 60, 30, and signature in the front of the mind.

    This ain’t Pollyanna %#$&, it’s being tired of responsive GOP negativity, and seeing far less wonky accountability to not only the process but policy, not only politics, but governing too.

    The legislative Republicans in Illinois are far too out of practice to the idiosyncrasies to be part of legislative solutions, solely because doing the hard work to produce solutions or be votes towards reasonable solutions is lacking, and at times non-existing.

    A real reason the Eastern Bloc exists is… showing a party that is against everything will eventually promote members to that extreme that eat themselves in rhetoric silliness.

    Until the GOP decides that engaging in positive governing values, and show positive work product governing, the question is valid “what are you for that a majority of Illinois voters see as worth following”?


  13. - H-W - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 11:40 am:

    @Grandson - Imagine if they chose to work together, openly, to address the shared problems of the people. One has to believe at least “a little more good” might come from collegiality as opposed to competition.


  14. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 11:41 am:

    “Truth in Accounting” is anything but. They’re pushing a point of view disguised as “objective analysis.”


  15. - H-W - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 11:45 am:

    @Oswego - You are correct. Thanks for reminding me that my party owns the mess just as much as yours. We need a new model.


  16. - @ rich - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 11:49 am:

    Please delete my comment above. Posted and regretted. Occasionally Moderated.


  17. - Occasionally Moderated - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 11:54 am:

    Thanks Rich


  18. - Sling - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 11:55 am:

    Lynn S if you look at the US Debt Clock they calculated debt per GDP. I’ve been watching it for several years now. Illinois, California and Texas trade places frequently over time. New York usually hovers around the 20% mark. Kentucky is always high although it isn’t among the most populous states though it seems to be an outlier. If you look at all the states the relationship between large population and large debt will seem obvious. I don’t know about age distribution.


  19. - Proud Papa Bear - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 11:57 am:

    I met with McLaughlin a few months ago.
    It ended up being an hour of listening to his white victimhood.


  20. - Denny's Grand Slam - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 12:15 pm:

    @hisgirlfriday

    Not a BR fan, but I think he did help get Rivian to Illinois. If I’m not mistaken Rivian announced in 2017 that they were opening a plant in Illinois with an expectation of $45 million in tax credits over 10 years. Thanks for pointing out that tax breaks, accompanied with employment benchmarks, work for job creation. I think that is sometimes lost in the discussion.


  21. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 12:21 pm:

    === I think he did help get Rivian to Illinois===

    Yep. And then he immediately and repeatedly humiliated the company in public.


  22. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 12:21 pm:

    ===Not a BR fan, but I think he did help get Rivian to Illinois.===

    Rauner himself didn’t know, or was purposely misleading (most likely both?) to Rivian. Why? Rauner, even as a governor, wanted a negative outlook.

    Let’s look at Bernie and Bruce talking about it…

    === Rauner: Um, Rivian didn’t really buy it. They sort of were pretty much given the plant —

    Bernie: You said nobody would even take it if we gave it to them. So that was also wrong. You said that last week in the Kemp Forum when you were trying to say how bad Illinois is. I’m wondering why you keep telling that falsehood?

    Rauner: There’s nothing false about it, Bernie. We are not competitive on our regulations and our taxes. This is a huge problem. It’s the reason we have outmigration net from the state. And we’re not growing anywhere near as fast as we should. These facts are well-established. We’re working as hard as we can. We’ve added about 180,000 new jobs since I became governor, we’ve been working hard to do it. I’m proud of that. But you know what? We should be growing five times faster than that, and to do it, we need to get regulatory relief on our businesses, cut the red tape. We need to bring down our tax burden. Our taxes are already too high —

    Bernie: They have 40 employees already. They have promised to have 500 within a few years or 1,000 to match — to get the state aid that you promised: the tax break. How can you keep saying, ‘Nobody will buy that plant, nobody will use that plant’ when you were there? They have 40 employees, your own Department of Commerce has a deal with them — it’s just a flat-out falsehood, is it not?===

    Link?

    shorturl.at/tuzUV

    Even good news for Rauner had to be downplayed because… I dunno why a sitting governor would downplay it, but…


  23. - Captain Obvious - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 12:24 pm:

    Yes, once again the can has been successfully kicked down the road. The problem is that the can gas gotten kind of heavy over time and harder to kick very far. So it has to be dealt with again much sooner. I don’t think recognizing and pointing that out is knee jerk dissing. The next kick may break a toe.


  24. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 12:28 pm:

    === The problem is that the can gas gotten kind of heavy over time and harder to kick very far.===

    Hmm.

    Shot:

    ===The state’s federal loans are being paid back.===

    Chaser:

    ===Comptroller Susana Mendoza said the report vindicates the “responsible approach” taken in paying down the backlog of bills “from $16.7 billion in 2017 to $3.4 billion today.”===

    So… are you ignoring this, or too busy seeing the negative you want “obviously” pushed?


  25. - City Zen - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 12:30 pm:

    ==“Truth in Accounting” is anything but. They’re pushing a point of view disguised as “objective analysis.”==

    As is the CTBA, EPI, AEI, NPPC, and every other think tank acronym out there.


  26. - Grandpa2 - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 12:33 pm:

    ILGOP has not emerged from the political bankruptcy of the Rauner years.


  27. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 12:44 pm:

    ===The next kick may break a toe===

    Fitch: Long-term liabilities are an elevated but still moderate burden on Illinois’ significant resource base, even when considering non-traditional liabilities such as the state’s accounts-payable backlog.


  28. - AD - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 12:48 pm:

    Shot:

    ===The state’s federal loans are being paid back.===

    Chaser:

    ===Comptroller Susana Mendoza said the report vindicates the “responsible approach” taken in paying down the backlog of bills “from $16.7 billion in 2017 to $3.4 billion today.”===

    Hangover:

    ===As of June 30, 2020, the report stated, the total unfunded liabilities of the state’s five pension systems stood at $317 billion, a 19 percent increase from the prior year===


  29. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 12:57 pm:

    ===As of June 30, 2020, the report stated, the total unfunded liabilities of the state’s five pension systems stood at $317 billion, a 19 percent increase from the prior year===

    … and yet… a positive outlook from Fitch?

    Your beef isn’t with me, it’s with Fitch, LOL

    So, your plan to pensions? Yeah, pay them. The ramp itself for one is going to rise before it levels and goes lower.

    You know that and ignore it, or you are trying to be negative to justify your own anger. You know which is right, maybe both?


  30. - AD - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 1:22 pm:

    === and yet… a positive outlook from Finch?===

    I don’t think that means quite as much as you think it does. They didn’t change our rating and we are still only one notch above junk. Also, it’s Fitch not Finch. Try to keep up.


  31. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 1:26 pm:

    ===They didn’t change our rating and we are still only one notch above junk===

    Correct. But the piling-on is still ridiculous. Grifters gonna grift.


  32. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 1:28 pm:

    === I don’t think that means quite as much as you think it does. They didn’t change our rating and we are still only one notch above junk.===

    So… a positive outlook by Fitch means nothing?

    Heck, I’ve argued that Wordslinger was right all along.

    If the rating is to credit worthiness, then why not figure in the Illinois constitution and debt?

    Otherwise, it’s a racket so when folks that take your position seem to think that the rating “matters” or “doesn’t matter” on whims.

    Rauner himself would say ratings matter, than later state that the ratings were not his concern. How does that work?

    It is fun seeing the gymnastics to making it bad 24/7/365 with better news popping.


  33. - Nick - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 1:35 pm:

    It’s actually ridiculous that our credit rating hasn’t been upgraded. Obviously we still deserve the “worst in the nation” status but I don’t see much justification for how we’re still rated below where we were in 2015/2016.

    The bill backlog is now below what it was even before Quinn was inaugurated I think. We’ve had successive balanced (mostly) budgets all passed on time.


  34. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 1:38 pm:

    The GOP be like:

    There are too many fires. We must cut funding to the fire department. They’re obviously not stopping fires.


  35. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 1:46 pm:

    ===As is the CTBA===

    The CTBA didn’t cheerlead while the state’s bill backlog ran up to $17 billion and then didn’t slam people for trying to fix the problem they helped create. Just sayin…


  36. - anon2 - Friday, Jun 25, 21 @ 2:45 pm:

    == The next kick may break a toe. ==

    Yet the GOP refrains from proposing specific spending cuts that would alleviate the debt problem. How much less funding should go to education, how much less to health care, to public safety, etc? When bills come up that would significantly reduce the debt going forward, many Republicans don’t get on board. When tier II pensions were created for state hires after 2010, for example, a couple dozen House Republicans voted no as I recall.

    == Good financial news is bad news for the party who only cares about debt as a political weapon. ==

    Best line of the day.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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