McCaleb editorial blasts Madigan's inaction
Dan McCaleb, executive editor of the Northwest Herald, has blasted Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) for his failure to act upon Illinois' overwhelming bill backlog.
Madigan opposes any reforms that would change the status quo.
The five public pension funds have been chronically underfunded for years. The state faces a pension deficit of approximately $130 billion, up $19 billion since last year. In addition, although the states' revenues are estimated at $31.8 billion for this fiscal year, the approximately $40 billion temporary "stopgap" budget passed in late June leaves the state $8 billion in the red.
Illinois is also behind on payments to its vendors. The unpaid bill backlog is $10.6 billion and growing. Human services providers, small businesses and other vendors are still waiting for payments for products and services rendered.
McCaleb pointed out that Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed "Turnaround Agenda" would implement reforms such as workers' compensation and collective bargaining. Rauner's plan is intended to stimulate Illinois' economy by making the state more business-friendly. Encouraging businesses and workers to stay in Illinois would widen the tax base and provide more revenue without raising taxes. The turnaround agenda would also freeze property taxes, impose term limits on the legislature and implement pension reforms.
Madigan is adamantly opposed to Rauner's proposal and favors raising taxes to pay the state's bills.
"Madigan’s plan is not really a plan at all," McCaleb wrote in the Northwest Herald. "It’s a crime against taxpayers."