Sounds like a case of the “Detroits.” Actually many cases of the Detroits.
The government is too big in these states. There are too many state employees. These employees want unrealistic pensions. (What’s a pension?) They lived like there was no tomorrow for decades and now “tomorrow” is here.
And we ain’t – I repeat are not, will not, ain’t – a’gonna bail you out.
“I don’t know what part of ‘We are in massive crisis mode‘ the General Assembly and the governor don’t understand,” said Comptroller Susana Mendoza, a Democrat. “This is not a false alarm. The magic tricks run out after a while, and that’s where we’re at.”
Politico sums it up nicely: “Illinois has compiled $14.6 billion in unpaid bills. It’s running a deficit of $6 billion and its pension liability has soared to $130 billion.”
Meanwhile, the state is already under several court orders to pay certain bills, so as others come due the money won’t be there. It’s a severe problem.
Not surprisingly, the Democrats would like higher taxes to fill the budget holes. Republican Rauner wants a variety of changes, intended to make the state more appealing to investors and less vulnerable to its abysmal political class, including term limits, a temporary property-tax freeze and workers’ compensation reform.
The sad thing is, other states are also struggling to pay their bills. A 2016 study by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University named four other states, in addition to Illinois, that were in particularly bad fiscal shape: Kentucky, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut, “largely owing to the low amounts of cash they have on hand and their large debt obligations.”