Budget blues continue in Springfield

It wouldn't be a normal day in Illinois without another dose of bad news out of Springfield.

Here's the latest proof that state government in Illinois will remain in an economic funk for the foreseeable future.

Managers of the state's five public pension systems informed legislators last week that they'll need another $500 million-plus next year to meet funding requirements.

Last year, the state injected $4.9 billion (yes, that's "billion" with a "b") in the public pensions. A few months ago, pension managers said they would need $5.3 billion for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Now after reconsidering their financial needs, they've upped the ante to $5.8 billion.

Gov. Quinn's budget office has estimated that state revenue will grow by $1.3 billion in the new budget year. But anticipated increases in pension and Medicaid spending will consume almost all of that growth, leaving little to nothing for programs like education, corrections and social services.

The increase in pension payments was caused by a variety of factors, including increased life expectancy, a decline in contributions by state employees and a downward revision in earnings from pension-system investments.

But the reasons are almost immaterial. What matters is that costs are eating up the state budget and hungering for more.

The state has many obligations that it's already shirking. Circumstances will never get better and will almost certainly get even worse if state government is forced to spend more and more of what it takes in on welfare programs and pensions.

Sections (2):Editorials, Opinion
Categories (2):Editorials, Opinions

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Sid Saltfork wrote on November 21, 2011 at 1:11 pm

The pension systems are in dire straits due to one thing; and one thing only.  The Legislature, and Governors paid the employer's portion into their pension system; but STOLE the employer's portion that was to be paid into the employees pension systems.  They STOLE the money so it could be used for pork barrel projects to enrich themselves, and appease their communities.  The employees paid every dime of their required payment into the pension systems.  The State of Illinois was legally bound to fund the employer's portion of the pension payment.  Now, there is no money for all of the projects created by the Legislature, and Governors.  Now, the media wants all of the money to be STOLEN because it is too expensive to follow the State constitution.  Illinois will soon be known not as the Land of Lincoln; but as the Land of Thieves.  Kids; forget about working hard, and saving money.  Better to just steal..........   

Citizen1 wrote on November 21, 2011 at 2:11 pm

So what do you propose to do about it?  Take my house????  On top of the tax increase which 50% of citizens don't pay???

Sid Saltfork wrote on November 21, 2011 at 2:11 pm

If I am going to lose mine; yes, I will take your house.  Get rid of the tax breaks for the corporations.  Get rid of the programs for non-citizens.  Get more public attention on the legislators, and their deals.  I will take 40 acres of Walnut Point, or Fox Ridge state parks.  Just don't steal from me; and say it is my fault.  It is THEFT.  Makes for one hell of a law suit in the U.S. Supreme Court.