Illinois moves at a snail's pace when it needs to cut costs, but spending? Now that's a whole different story. Lawmakers discovered that more than $58 million they previously appropriated had never been spent. They could have applied that money toward paying down the state's debt. They could have used it to help catch up on the state's $9 billion in overdue bills.
Nah, spending is so much more fun. So instead of counting the $58 million as savings, they shifted it to other programs. Some layoffs already planned won't take place after all, for example.
The House Executive Committee approved the fund shift on Monday, and Tuesday the full House approved it. Lawmakers also approved $675 million to speed up planned transportation projects and $600 million for state employee health insurance.Republicans strenuously objected, to no avail. Remember, Democrats have a supermajority and can do whatever they want.
Compare this quick action to the many months Illinoisans have been waiting in vain for lawmakers to reform the state's pension programs, which have $96 billion in unfunded liabilities. No word on that, of course.
Maybe the Senate will stop this spending madness, but don't hold your breath. It has a Democratic supermajority, also.