SPRINGFIELD (Heartland Newsfeed) — As pressure mounts on the city of Chicago to address its debt crisis, some have suggested the state should help the city cover its expenses.
“Chicago has spent at least two decades digging itself into a massive financial hole,” Nicole Gelinas wrote in The City Journal. She went on to say that since 2000, the overall debt has climbed from $12.3 billion to $20.2 billion, calculating out to $7,500 per person.
The crisis deepened during the same year the state Legislature approved a massive 32 percent personal income tax hike, as reported in May by WGN. The tax increase would also affect Chicagoans, who already face some of the nation’s highest property tax rates, according to IllinoisPolicy.org.
As The City Journal notes, the state is helping Chicago refinance its debt through a bond issue, but the move is seen as a delaying tactic rather than true spending reform.
So should the state do more to help its beleaguered largest city?
Rep. Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee) is among those saying enough is enough.
“Chicago should not be bailed by the state or federal government,” Skillicorn said. “Politicians should not use debt as a tool to enslave the next generation. Families know this. Maybe it’s time to start running the government like a family, where households must live within their means.”
That’s a lesson state lawmakers have yet to learn, much less Chicago’s leaders, according to a report from the Pew Charitable Trust that ranks the state near the bottom in debt-to-income ratio during the nearly decade and a half between 2002 and 2016.
“Illinois revenue was 94.2 percent of expenses over that time period, according to the study,” IllinoisPolicy.org wrote.
Skillcorn suggested both Chicago and the state make true fiscal reform a priority.
“It’s time for state laws to protect innocent taxpayers who pay for this financial irresponsibility,” he said.