Editorial: Illinois, one year later, falling apart by the numbers

Tell me again — how is it that conservatives in Illinois are losing to the Democrats and big government Republicans in light of the following facts? You can find the answer on these pages.

Here is the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board:

Here’s a number for you: $8,031,269,046.06.

That’s how big a deadbeat the State of Illinois is. That’s how far behind the state was in paying its bills as of noon on Tuesday, when we started writing this editorial.

Here’s another big number: $9,634,987.

That’s how much Illinois has spent in the last year on late fees and interest for failing to pay its bills on time. Plain and stupid credit card debt.

And here’s a third big number: 60.

That’s the percentage of human service agencies surveyed by the United Way of Illinois that have had to cut back on how many people they help because they’re going broke. If the state keeps stiffing the agencies, not paying what’s owed, a third of them say they’ll likely close in the next six months.

On this first anniversary of no state budget, the numbers tell the story:

Our bond rating

Here’s a scary one for you: 50.

Illinois has the lowest credit rating of all 50 states, largely due to its dire financial straits, and we’re paying a big price for that.

Early this month, two credit-rating services downgraded the state’s rating, once again, shortly after which the state borrowed $550 million for construction purposes. Because of the downgrade, Illinois will pay an extra $12 million in interest on the loan, according to the Institute for Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois. If Illinois had the same credit rating it had 10 years ago, taxpayers actually would have saved $70 million.

Our pension debt

Another miserable number: $116.7 billion.

That, according to an estimate by the watchdog group Truth in Accounting, is the state’s full unfunded pension liability. As Reboot Illinois reports, when Truth in Accounting rolls in other categories of state underfunding, such as for outstanding bonds and retiree health care benefits, the state’s total debt grows to a whopping $213 billion.

Read more: Chicago Sun-Times

Image credit: www.illinoisreview.com.