With just 10 days to go until Illinois enters its third year without a budget, resulting in the state’s imminent downgrade to junk status and potentially culminating in a default for the state whose unpaid bills now surpass $15 billion, Democratic Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza issued a warning to Illinois Gov. Rauner and other elected officials on Tuesday, saying in a letter that her office has “very serious concerns” it may no longer be able to guarantee “timely and predictable payments” for some core services.
Illinois has the worst migration statistics in the nation. Every 5 minutes, someone decides to leave.
* * *
Illinois state workers, are the highest paid in the nation.
Yet, despite the fact that Illinois is for all practical purposes insolvent, the AFSCME union demands four-year raises ranging from 11.5 to 29 percent, overtime after 37.5 hours of work per week, five weeks of vacation and enhanced health care coverage.
AFSCME workers already get platinum healthcare benefits that would make nearly everyone in the country green with envy.
* * *
As Illinois struggles to get its fiscal house in order (good luck with that), it has devolved into funding key programs with one-off stopgap measures rather than approving an overall comprehensive budget. The state remains the only remaining state without a 2016 plan.
Most recently, lawmakers overwhelmingly approved $700 million to fund social service programs, however, as the Chicago Sun Times reports, the bill is likely to sit on Governor Bruce Rauner’s desk as he tries to push lawmakers to come to an agreement on a balanced budget instead of one-off solutions.
By now, Illinois’ budget problems are no secret.
Back in May, after the State Supreme Court struck down a pension reform bid, Moody’s move to downgrade the city of Chicago thrust the state’s financial woes into the national spotlight.
Since then, the situation hasn’t gotten any better and despite hiring an “all star” budget guru (for $30,000 a month no less), Bruce Rauner was unable to pass a budget in a timely fashion leading directly to all types of absurdities including everything from the possibility of shortened school years to lottery winners being paid in IOUs.
Now, as Bloomberg reports, pension payments are set to be delayed. Bond payments, apparently, will still be made.
Illinois will delay pension payments as a prolonged budget impasse causes a cash shortage, Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger said.
– “Desperate” Chicago Schools Need Half Billion To Avoid Mass Layoffs, Partial Shutdown (ZeroHedge, Sep 8, 2015):
Last month, we noted with some incredulity that Illinois is now paying lottery winners in IOUs. Long story short, the state’s inability to pass a budget means big winners will have to wait on their prize money, a ridiculous situation which prompted one Illinoisan to remind state officials that “if we owed the state money, they’d come take it and they don’t care whether we have a roof over our head; our budget wouldn’t be a factor.” State Rep. Jack Franks agreed, noting that the “government is committing fraud on the taxpayers.”
The lottery debacle is just the latest example of Illinois’ deepening fiscal crisis which was catapulted into the national spotlight in May when a state Supreme Court decision that struck down a pension reform bid prompted Moody’s to cut the city of Chicago into junk territory. Since then, the media has been awash with tales of the labyrinthine, incestuous character of the state’s various state and local governments and the deplorable condition of the state’s pension system.
The fallout from the budget crisis is far-reaching in the state with the latest example being Chicago’s public school system (the third-largest in the country), which opened this week with a budget shortfall of nearly a half billion dollars.
Here’s WSJ with the story:
Added: Apr 8, 2011
The substance in the report is concentrated hydrofluorosilicic acid, a pollution by product of the phosphate fertilizer industry that is trucked around the country and placed in your drinking water. The chemical is so caustic, the transport tankers must be coated inside with rubber to protect the metal. As mentioned in the video, the chemical is strong enough to melt concrete and many other substances. Fluorosilicic acid is so dangerous, cleanups must be done by qualified hazmat crews that are properly protected in hazardous material suits. It is completely illegal to dump this toxic substance in any natural body of water anywhere in the country. However, if it is placed in a container, in either powdered or liquid form, and sold to water utilities, it magically becomes a product that can then be placed in municipal drinking water anywhere in the United States. Despite being used as a drug, the substance has never been approved for that use by the FDA.
This video is presented under the fair use copyright law as an example of how hazardous fluorosilicic acid is. The source and producer is WQAD News 8 of Moline, Illinois – FAN would like to thank WQAD and Kristy Mergenthal for their excellent report.
– Hyper-Sensitive Illinois Mayor Orders Police Raid Over Parody Twitter Account (Liberty Blitzkrieg, April 19, 2014):
Just yesterday, I wrote a post about how a South Carolina construction worker was fined $525 and lost his job for not paying $0.89 for a drink refill while working at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in downtown Charleston. The point was to emphasize how the law comes down with a devastating vengeance when an average citizen commits a minor crime, yet allows the super rich to loot and pillage with zero repercussions. There is now a systemic two-tier justice system operating in these United States, and the result will unquestionably be tyranny if the trend continues unabated.
The latest example of a lowly citizen being subject to a disproportionate use of the law, is Jon Daniel of Peoria, Illinois. Jon was behind a parody Twitter account that mocked Peoria mayor Jim Ardis, and his biggest mistake was not making it clear that it was a parody. As a result, Twitter had already suspended the account weeks ago. Problem solved, right? Wrong.
The tough guy mayor was so offended that a plebe would dare criticize his royal highness that he ordered a police raid on the home of Jon Daniel and his roommates. Peoria native, Justin Glawe wrote an excellent article on the subject for Vice. He writes:
Jon Daniel woke up on Thursday morning to a news crew in his living room, which was a welcome change from the company he had on Tuesday night, when the Peoria, Illinois, police came crashing through the door. The officers tore the 28-year-old’s home apart, seizing electronics and taking several of his roommates in for questioning; one woman who lived there spent three hours in an interrogation room. All for a parody Twitter account.