Budget woes deeper than anticipated

The current fiscal year’s budget is at a deficit $400 million more than expected — $3.2 billion (PHOTO: Gov. J.B. Pritzker Facebook page)

 

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.”

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