By Dave Dahl
SPRINGFIELD– As his predecessor, Bruce Rauner, said four years ago, new Gov. JB Pritzker says Illinois is in worse shape than he expected.
A new report from his office, authored by Deputy Gov. Dan Hynes, is called “Digging Out.” It says the current fiscal year’s budget is at a deficit $400 million more than expected — $3.2 billion.
Civic Federation President Laurence Msall says continued unpaid bills and unfulfilled pension obligations are to blame; “It’s a situation that begs for leadership and begs for a financial plan.”
Msall notes the report does not suggest a way out via cuts or new revenue. He also says the state did not have a plan for the increased revenue realized from the 2017 income tax increase.
The governor’s budget speech is Feb. 20.
Summing up the report, Msall makes a comparison suitable to the season: “One is left with a chill similar to that which one would get if one walked outside in Illinois right now. This is a very cold assessment of the financial challenges facing the state.”