(The Center Square) – As the U.S. Senate considers whether to pass a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, an Illinois nonprofit is urging a no vote.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said despite a $120 million surplus in his proposed budget, the state needs an estimated $7.5 billion.
“This is a budget that is the result of a crisis that we had facing the state and the country,” Pritzker said.
Pritzker has also blamed the state’s dire fiscal condition on voters’ rejection of his progressive tax amendment and on Congress’ failure to provide unrestricted state bailouts earlier.
Jim Tobin, the founder of the Taxpayer Education Foundation, is opposed to any kind of federal bailout and said the Illinois state government needs to fail to change its irresponsible spending habits.
“Tax dollars are like crack to the Illinois government bureaucrats, and like any kind of addict the worst thing you could do is to continue to feed the addiction,” said Tobin.
According to a Truth in Accounting analysis, Illinois ranks 49th in the country with a grade of “F” for health in finances and requires an additional $226 billion dollars to pay its outstanding bills. Over $200 million of that debt is unfunded pensions and retiree healthcare benefits.
“There are 148,654 Illinois government pension millionaires,” Tobin said. “These are people who will get over a million dollars over the course of their retirement. The average number of years is only 20, and the average age of retirement is about 61.”
Wirepoints recently estimated that 44 states are sunning surpluses for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 when COVID-19 relief and budget reserves are included. The six outliers: Illinois, New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Hawaii and Nevada have pre-existing spending problems or rely heavily on tourism.
“Illinois has been mismanaging taxpayer money for decades,” said Rae Ann McNeilly, the Taxpayer Education Foundation’s director of research. “This indebtedness did not accrue in the single year of the COVID-19 pandemic. To bail out Illinois politicians and strip them of their accountability for their policies would be a grave mistake.”