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Illinois at the fiscal precipice

January 3, 2011 Leave a comment

You can add the Land of Lincoln to the list of states that are in dire straits:

Illinois lawmakers will try this week to accomplish in a few days what they have been unable to do in the past two years — resolve the state’s worst financial crisis.

The legislative session that began today as the House convened will take aim at a budget deficit of at least $13 billion, including a backlog of more than $6 billion in unpaid bills and almost $4 billion in missed payments to underfunded state pensions.

The fiscal mess is largely of the lawmakers’ own making, and failure to address the shortages threatens public schools, local governments and other public services, said Dan Hynes, the state’s outgoing comptroller.

“We’ve reached a very critical and concerning point,” Hynes said in an interview in his Chicago office, with packing boxes stacked in the corner. “What’s missing right now is a general understanding by the public of where we are, of how bad it is, and what the fallout would be if we don’t deal with it properly.”

[…]

Bill Gross, who runs the world’s biggest bond fund at Pacific Investment Management Co. in Newport Beach, California, said Illinois was one of the states whose debt he would avoid.

“Illinois is probably in the worst shape,” Gross said in a Dec. 28 interview on CNBC.

The widening gap between Illinois’s expenses and revenue drew criticism from Moody’s. The disparity underscored the state’s “chronic unwillingness to confront a long-term, structural budget deficit,” it said in a Dec. 29 study.

Here in New Jersey, Governor Christie has spent the better part of a year tackling our fiscal problems head on, and not by skirting around the edges of the problem, but engaging them head on.  For that he has ticked off the right people  drawn the ire of the national media, left-leaning bloggers and pundits, and quite frankly, people who don’t know any better. 

He has directly and intentionally taken on the public-sector unions that at this point are nothing more than parasites on the financial well-being of our state.  And even then, it might not be enough to turn us around from the mess that 12+ years of Democratic “fiscal” policy have left the Garden State.

Looks like Illinois needs their own Chris Christie.  And from the looks of things, I won’t hold my breath.