People on WSIU Radio
Thu October 25, 2012
Illinois' Budget Problems Detailed
Despite progress, Illinois' financial woes are deep enough that its budget is unsustainable. That's the stark refrain of a new report from a national group examining states' fiscal problems in the wake of the economic downturn.
Illinois' fiscal story revolves around three themes, according to the analysis.
A lack of transparency that muddles how Illinois budgets. Short-sightedness by politicians. And a third, more optimistic theme: progress.
Dick Ravitch, a former Lieutenant Governor of New York, was co-chair of the State Budget Crisis Task Force.
"All the large urban states face essentially the same set of problems." Problems like rising pension and health care costs. "Illinois, may, in some respects, be worse off than other states."
The report says Illinois' costs are bad enough they could crowd out spending for basic services.
But back to that optimistic note: Ravitch says after ignoring those concerns for decades, he's impressed with what he perceives as a sincere effort to try to address those problems.