A new report says the Illinois state budget is not fiscally sustainable and the state won’t be able to keep taxes at current levels while continuing to provide current services and promised benefits.

The report by the State Budget Crisis Task Force, co-chaired by former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker and former New York City transit chief Richard Ravitch, paints a grim picture of the state’s fiscal future.

It says:

  • Illinois has the worst unfunded pension liability of any state, estimated at $85 billion, and has underfunded pension systems since the early 1980s.Within three years pension costs could eat up one-fourth of the state’s resources.
  • Medicaid expenses have doubled in a decade, growing far more rapidly than tax revenue.
  • Illilnois has been borrowing growing amounts to pay its bills and now has one of the highest levels of debt per capita of any state.
  • Poor fiscal management and opaque budgeting have compounded the state’s financial challenges, perennially pushing its bills off to the future.
  • Illinois tax revenues are not likely to grow enough to meet future needs.

You can read the full report here:

Report on Illinois Finances

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. I am so Surprised

    And the not-to-bright Illinois voters keep voting in the same Democrats, year after year. How many years have our left leaning pols be trading union votes for more benefits.

    Please get smart. Dumb votes count as much as smart votes.

  2. Curbing Spending

    An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal Oct. 27-28, 2012 p. A13 'How to Curb Spending at the Grass Roots' offers a few idea—that hopefully will spur more ideas.

    It appears to be available to everyone at


    Given the budget/pension mess Illinois/Evanston government has brought on by trying to be [give] everything to everybody, we need to start implement the sound ideas that will hopefully at least stop the increases and then hopefully take spending/deficits going in the other direction. 

    I can only hope in the elections from now on that voters will start to realize who has got us in this situation and clean house—they clearly have not been doing their job.

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