Voters didn’t seem much interested in Republican Judy Baar Topinka’s fiscal-responsibility message in the November governor’s race (perhaps because her party’s president hasn’t shown much interest in it either). But the dire consequences of Rod Blagojevich’s spend-and-don’t-tax regime can’t be ignored forever. The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability issued a report on state pension funds November 28. We’ve been skipping payments again. Full report here (PDF). The gist from Illinois Channel:
“‘Illinois public pension liabilities are growing out of control, and the state’s failure to pay keeps making them worse,’ said Chrissy Mancini, Director of Budget and Policy Analysis for CTBA, a bipartisan fiscal think tank based in Chicago. ‘If lawmakers don’t act to meet these obligations now, the cost of catching up later will force cuts to education, health care and other essential public services.’
“The report concluded that, because Illinois has the nation’s fewest state employees per capita, ranks 42nd in state spending per capita, and offers public pension benefits no richer than the national average, the pension debt can only be solved by adding revenue. The best available option is to fix ‘the state’s poorly designed tax system [that] doesn’t grow with the economy’ or produce enough revenue to fund both state services and pension obligations.”
You can argue with ’em here or attend CTBA’s annual fiscal symposium in Chicago January 17. John McCarron’s Chicago Tribune column is also relevant.