‘Had worse. It’s just a flesh wound’

Illinois Held Hostage: Day 152 without a state budget.
Illinois Held Hostage: Day 152 without a state budget. AP

There is rarely healing without suffering, so our state lawmakers continue their isolated, pain-free existences and continue waiting until January when they only need a 60 percent majority to pass a state budget.

Meanwhile, we continue to see entities making bad choices because they have so few choices on Illinois Held Hostage: Day 152.

In the Edwardsville school district they are borrowing $10 million to rebuild reserves because the state money has dropped from 27 percent to 17 percent of their revenue in eight years. More burden shifted to property taxpayers and this new debt will add $50 a year to the property tax bill of a $150,000 house.

In East St. Louis the city is facing more layoffs and the prospect of payless paydays because of a $5.9 million deficit fueled by a series of financial missteps. The biggest single problem is the state: $2.8 million in gambling revenue is being held up because there is no state budget. There is no excuse for the state failing to pass this money back to the city.

And 70 state utility accounts are way past due and creating a burden for a non-profit electric company. The Southwestern Illinois Electric Cooperative has had enough and is cutting the power to those state facilities on Dec. 1.

“It’s all politics; it’s not about people; it’s Illinois politics at its worst,” state Rep. Dwight Kay, R-Glen Carbon, said.

When that budget finally passes in January, all these poor local financial choices, all the uncontrolled, court-ordered state spending, all the lawmakers’ “principled” deficit spending will be piled up. We may all wish it were just the $5 million deficit they wanted in May.

Prepare for the real suffering, and don’t expect any healing — just heels who gladly accept paychecks for failing to do their jobs.