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Perhaps the Tribune should apply these same standards to everyone else

Tuesday, Oct 12, 2021

* Recent Tribune editorial

Illinois has a long history of leaders guilty of fiscal irresponsibility. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle isn’t one of them. Now wrapping up her 10th year as the county’s chief executive, she has built a reputation for balanced budgets that avoid hitting residents with tax hikes or new fees.

She keeps the impressive streak alive with her proposed 2022 budget. […]

Last December, Gov. J.B. Pritzker struggled to find ways to close a $3.9 billion budget hole, a gaping maw created in part by pandemic-diminished tax revenue but also by years of state politicians borrowing and spending far too much. Making matters worse for Illinois is Springfield’s refusal to tackle what Moody’s Investors Service says is a whopping $317 billion state pension system shortfall.

Um, OK, but they skipped over the intervening months where the governor and the General Assembly passed a balanced budget and Moody’s increased the state’s credit rating. I wonder why.

The editorial board also points out that a big reason why the county’s budget is balanced is “the county’s ability to now collect sales tax on online purchases.” Yeah, that would be because of a state law.

The Trib heaped praise on Preckwinkle for not spending all of the county’s federal bailout money in a single year. Illinois has done the same.

And the paper says that Preckwinkle is getting the county on track with its pension obligations. A third of her proposed $1 billion budget increase actually goes to pensions. The paper is right. That’s how it’s done. You can’t just jawbone your way out of this problem. But when other governments take the same responsible approach, they come in for criticism.

Odd

The lesson for other Illinois governments? Start playing Cook County’s tune.

Many are.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

20 Comments »
  1. - Phil King - Tuesday, Oct 12, 21 @ 10:27 am:

    Except Pritzker didn’t actually come close to balancing the state budget and that’s just campaign spin, sooo….


  2. - Nuke The Whales - Tuesday, Oct 12, 21 @ 10:38 am:

    Well, how can we be an in-kind donation to the Republican Party, but make a nominal effort to appear unbias? I know, let’s say nice things about that woman who we’ve come to the conclusion we can’t defeat in an election.


  3. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 12, 21 @ 10:40 am:

    ===Except===

    Except? Are you sure the budget wasn’t constitutionally balanced? Huh.

    To the post,

    Still interesting that how Illinois treats its obligation to pensions and requirements to them when borrowing is ignored. That’s … always curious to me #ItsNotActually

    Also? Welp, also like no one has ever had a mortgage, or any loan. It’s purposeful to discourage good news breaking thru because those cheering against Illinois need a crutch to have that fake “real” angst.

    Wholly dishonest.


  4. - Blue Bayou - Tuesday, Oct 12, 21 @ 10:40 am:

    tronc


  5. - New Day - Tuesday, Oct 12, 21 @ 10:46 am:

    Tribune gonna Tribune.


  6. - Medvale School for the Gifted. - Tuesday, Oct 12, 21 @ 11:09 am:

    Perhaps JB needs to be a bit more grandmotherly.


  7. - Chicagonk - Tuesday, Oct 12, 21 @ 11:10 am:

    Didn’t the Trib endorse rejecting the Fair Tax?


  8. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Oct 12, 21 @ 11:24 am:

    Grateful the Editorial Board is no longer the “Katrina Kass Show” but disappointed they are so unaware of Illinois political history. An earlier editorial claimed they were not aware of any serious politician’s proposal(s) to reduce current employee pensions. Yet in 2010 GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady did just that.

    On WMAY he proposed shutting down SERS and paying the employees what they were “owed” to, presumably, be put in individual 401(k)s. When asked where he was going to get the funds SERS was short (question leads me to believe Jim Leach, not Greg Bishop, asked the question), he said “Sell 50 year bonds.” How would that reduce current employee’s future pensions? The institutional investment knowledge and ability of SERS would be replaced by the individual employee’s lack of both, reducing future rates of return. Also, any fees SERS pays investment advisors pale in comparison to what individuals would be charged.

    There is also the irony of “fixing” Illinois state pension problems by replacing the “Edgar Pension Ramp” which ends in 2045 with the “Brady Pension Bridge” which would have ended, at earliest, in 2061.


  9. - SaulGoodman - Tuesday, Oct 12, 21 @ 11:59 am:

    Phil King - if you don’t think that the state budget is balanced, please tell us why? Also, tell us how it differs from the County budget?


  10. - Henry Francis - Tuesday, Oct 12, 21 @ 12:02 pm:

    This is a cute sentiment from a company that has been bleeding cash and diminishing its product for over a decade.


  11. - northernwatersports - Tuesday, Oct 12, 21 @ 12:07 pm:

    Thanks Rich, for laying out another fine example of the Colonel’s flagship editors strategic disregard for the fairness doctrine.
    Another reason I dropped my subscription.
    Now I’ll have to cherry pick the great reporting staff’s work via other outlets….


  12. - Juvenal - Tuesday, Oct 12, 21 @ 12:46 pm:

    I’m not saying that Preckwinkle doesn’t deserve credit.

    But I believe they are praising her because they know she’ll never have a contested race, so praising her costs then nothing.

    This is really a set-up for some brutal editorials if Mayor Lori Lightfoot doesn’t “toe the party line” when it comes to the city budget. To be clear, I mean The Republican Party line.

    The business community is playing footsie with Arne Duncan, a former Daley flunkie with Obama credentials and ties to the Alexi-Kelly camp. They’ll use the threat of a Duncan endorsement to keep Lightfoot looking over her shoulder to get as much as they can out of her.

    And then they’ll back Arne Duncan anyway.


  13. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Oct 12, 21 @ 1:24 pm:

    Anonymous 1:11

    ===We’ve ended each year with a large deficit in the general funds since FY2001.===

    Yet OAG’s audit of FY 2020 (Pritzker’s first budget) shows that deficit decreased by nearly 15% (decrease from $7.5 billion to $6.4 billion). IF he can do that in every subsequent budget and serves 2 terms, he’ll leave us where Jim Edgar left us … and … thismuch closer to the end of the “Edgar Pension Ramp” … .


  14. - anon2 - Tuesday, Oct 12, 21 @ 2:18 pm:

    It is remarkable to see the Trib praising Cook County government, which, after all, is dominated by Democrats.


  15. - Phil King - Tuesday, Oct 12, 21 @ 2:27 pm:

    Accidentally posted as anonymous, my bad…

    SaulGoodman,

    I don’t “think” it’s balanced because it isn’t. You can look at the states audited financial reports yourself. We’ve ended each year with a large deficit in the general funds since FY2001.

    It’s a lie. There’s not room for a difference of opinion on facts.


  16. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 12, 21 @ 2:30 pm:

    No, - Phil King -

    Let’s look at - Charlie Wheeler -, Friday, Jun 11, 21

    === Point of Information re Illinois Constitution and balanced budgets

    The constitution requires the governor to submit a budget in which proposed expenditures “shall not exceed funds estimated to be available for the fiscal year.” The constitution further requires the General Assembly to make appropriations for the fiscal year “which shall not exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that year.” Article VIII, Section 2.

    For FY 2022, the General Assembly’s general funds appropriations are estimated to exceed funds available by $210 million, according to CTBA cited above.

    Moreover, the constitution does not specify general funds; rather, the language would seem to include all appropriations from all 700+ funds maintained by the comptroller and treasurer. For FY 20, the most recent available, the comptroller’s annual “Traditional Budgetary Financial Report” showed a $5.751 general funds deficit on a budgetary basis to begin FY 21. However, the same report showed a $3.329 billion surplus in all appropriated funds on a budgetary basis to begin FY 21. That would seem to indicate the FY 20 budget met the constitutional requirement that appropriations not exceed available funds.

    Respectfully,

    Charlie Wheeler===

    Your opinion… “Charlie Wheeler Facts”.


  17. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 12, 21 @ 2:43 pm:

    === CTBA is a union owned propaganda front===

    Huh?


  18. - filmmaker prof - Tuesday, Oct 12, 21 @ 3:45 pm:

    === CTBA is a union owned propaganda front===

    Don’t like the answer you are given? Just cry fake news.
    Page two, Trump playbook.


  19. - Shytown - Tuesday, Oct 12, 21 @ 3:53 pm:

    The new editorial page editor isn’t exactly an expert when it comes to state/city/county government and it shows. Wasn’t he a culture writer before he landed this gig?


  20. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Oct 12, 21 @ 4:40 pm:

    ==There’s not room for a difference of opinion on facts.==

    There is when your “facts” are wrong. And you are simply wrong.


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