SPRINGFIELD (Heartland Newsfeed) — While the blame game is well underway between Democrats and Republicans, both in the Illinois General Assembly and in the gubernatorial race, Republicans are taking the time to blame the state’s continued losses in net worth on Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Republican legislators shifting the blame on Rauner include his former primary opponent Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) and Rep. Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee).
“Bruce Rauner needs to apologize to the base of his party,” Skillicorn told Heartland Newsfeed
. “As governor, he has to represent the interests all of his constituents, not just liberal North Shore elites. Policies and leadership matter. Bailing out Chicago teacher pensions hurts suburban and downstate taxpayers. Rauner teaming up with (House) Speaker (Mike) Madigan (D-Chicago) to push down pensions onto property tax payers will drive more people out of the state.”
Ives adds, “Illinois elected officials are burying their heads in the sand and ignoring the consequences of decades of mismanagement. While states cannot go bankrupt, there is no feasible way for Illinois to repay this debt. Compared to other states, it is obvious our politicians have made promises that even other more liberal states never made on the backs of taxpayers.”
A recently released Comprehensive Annual Financial Report reveals that the state lost $9.9 billion net worth in 2017, which also results in the government’s net position to $137 billion in red ink.
The $9.9 billion figure equates to nearly a quarter of the state’s annual revenue, which was $38 billion. The net position accounts for all assets and liabilities the state has.
“When 15 Republicans vote to hike taxes and Bruce Rauner and the party establishment defend them from conservative primary challengers, we have a problem,” Skillicorn added.
An active supporter of Ives during her primary race, Skillicorn adds, “When Bruce Rauner approves spending $30 million for free abortions when we can’t pay our bills or fully fund pensions, where do moderates and conservatives go? Is a third party an option?”
Ives cites the income tax hikes which were passed via veto override in July 2017, stating that both increases were outrageous.
“Local governments need to start demanding reform in Springfield to protect their withering tax base,” Ives stated.
All the losses aren’t just restricted to the state, with figures showing over the last decade the city of Chicago, Cook County and the Chicago Public Schools have all suffered steep losses.
“There is a real divide between Big Government Republicans who are OK with patronage, cronyism and taxpayer funded abortions, and mainstream, Ronald Reagan conservatives,” Skillicorn said. “No wonder why Republicans have such a hard time winning when half the party is OK with status quo.”
“The state needs to immediately stop digging the pension hole by first having all new hires placed into a 401(k)-style system,” Ives said. “State leaders also need to seek restructuring of the debt and pension obligations as there is no feasible way they can be paid.”
Current data shows Illinois is easily outpacing other states in terms of its negative net position, with a recently booming stock market having little impact in turning the tide. A Wirepoints report revealed that further research concludes the bulk of the state’s losses over the last decade derive from still bubbling unfunded annuity liabilities. Even with markets dramatically rising in 2017 and the state’s pensions earning an unusually high 15 percent, pension liabilities stayed basically flat and the state remained heavily mired in increasing debt.
“Moderate and conservative Republicans agree on more than they disagree,” Skillicorn added. “It’s the big spending, liberal Republicans that undermine the party and empower Chicago Democrats.”
“Balanced budgets always help, but Illinois has not enforced its own constitutional requirement for a balanced budget since 2001, so until the courts step in and enforce the constitutional requirement, the overspending will continue,” Ives said.