Welcome to Illinois Held Hostage: Day 102. No state budget, more cries of pain from social service agencies, more reckless spending guided by court order instead of a budget.
Sixteen of the state’s 97 public health departments have cut staff and services, including the East Side Health District serving the East St. Louis area. The Illinois Public Health Association is lobbying for the $17 million that local health departments will use to guard water supplies, make restaurant inspections, immunize residents and investigate disease outbreaks.
It is interesting that the supermajority statehouse Democrats are so willing to bleed their voting base through the cuts in health services, after school programs for poor youth, summer jobs, day care and other social safety net programs. Some are even saying the budget stalemate could go until March, which signals such a callous disregard for the state’s poor, not to mention the taxpayers, that disgust is becoming the reigning emotion.
Two recent national rankings have again underscored the need for reforms.
The Wall Street Journal recently looked at how well states funded their state employee pensions. South Dakota was at the top, fully funding their pension obligations. Guess where Illinois was: dead last with only 47 percent of the pension obligations funded.
The other was by Illinois Policy using U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Illinois is the only Midwestern state to add more people to the food stamp rolls than to the employment rolls. When you look at just manufacturing jobs, food stamps grew at a rate of 25 to 1.
Democrat lawmakers cannot simply tax their way out of the mess they’ve created over the past 30-plus years. We need to fix our economy and grow new jobs and taxes through the reforms being pushed by Gov. Bruce Rauner.