The news that Illinois’ budget is falling apart will surprise no one. If conservatives knew how to fight the information war, ammunition like this would win the day. Instead, the great research being done reaches only a relative few — and few minds are enlightened or changed. Here are Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner writing at the Illinois Policy Institute:
The 2018 budget is staring at a $1.7 billion hole despite containing the largest permanent tax hike in state history. Every budget through 2023 will likely be unbalanced as well.
For more than two years, politicians debated whether the state needed massive spending reforms to change the way Illinois does business, or whether tax hikes would fill the hole and allow government business to continue as usual. Tax hike supporters won the fight and state lawmakers raised taxes by a record $5 billion while spurning reforms.
Now the state’s finances are on track to lurch right back into crisis. The 2018 budget is already staring at a $1.7 billion hole for the year, meaning the streak of unbalanced budgets in Illinois will continue.
In addition to the $1.7 billion shortfall in 2018, GOMB projects a $2 billion-plus budget deficit in 2019. The office also predicts unpaid bills will continue to rise, even after the state borrows $6 billion to pay down part of the state’s $15 billion bill backlog. And a national recession in the next few years could precipitate an even worse situation.
The 2017 tax hike, just like the “temporary” 2011 tax hike, was a failed path for Illinois. It’s destroying the state’s tax base as Illinoisans leave in record numbers. The proper path forward was the passage of a balanced budget without tax hikes.
Read more: Illinois Policy
Image credit: www.illinoispolicy.org.