Leadership makes all the difference

Leadership makes all the difference

Illinois' neighbors are doing considerably better than Illinois.

Depressed about Illinois' status as a failed financial state? Looking for a reason to feel even worse?

Here's one. Wisconsin's nonpartisan legislative fiscal bureau announced last week that the state's budget surplus is expected to grow to $484 million. That's $137 million higher than Gov. Scott Walker's November estimate.

Two years ago, when Walker first took office, he confronted a $3 billion budget shortfall.

Then, there is Indiana, where new Gov. Mike Pence just took office. Pence succeeded Mitch Daniels, now the president of Purdue University. Like Walker, Daniels also confronted a state facing serious financial problems, which he addressed by, among other things, taking steps to bring spending in line with revenues and to attract jobs by improving the state's business climate. Over his eight years in office, Daniels turned the former sow's ear that was Indiana into a silk purse.

Indeed, Indiana's finances are so strong that Pence is asking the Legislature to approve a cut in the state's income tax.

One more thing: the public pension systems in both Indiana and Wisconsin are in fine shape.

Illinois, in contrast, faces serious financial problems on every front — grossly underfunded public pension systems, roughly $9 billion in unpaid bills and insufficient revenue to finance core state programs.

The changed fortunes of Wisconsin and Indiana, of course, demonstrate that there is hope for Illinois. Voters in those two states chose short-term pain for long-term gain by electing serious, determined leaders who were willing to make tough decisions that fix problems. Those are examples Illinoisans ought to take to heart.

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

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rsp wrote on January 30, 2013 at 2:01 am

What happens in Indiana when all that money that they got from selling the toll roads runs out and they jack up the prices? Isn't that really short-term borrowing to get cash on hand? What are the poverty numbers like in Wisconsin like now? 

chieffan wrote on January 30, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Nitpicky comment. There is absolutely no way to deny that what Wisconsin and Indiana have done has vastly improved their economies while Illinois continues with its old ways and old leadership that is nothing but a total failure. Blame the voters for re-electing the same old, same old and the Republicans for being so lousy at getting the message out that we need a change.