Monday, May 3, 2010

Illinois lawmakers play while the budget burns

Illinois faces an estimated $13 billion budget deficit in the coming fiscal year, the equivalent of almost half the state's entire general fund. It's by far the worst shortfall in the state's history and one of the worst in the nation. School districts, hospitals, state vendors and others are so far behind in promised payments from the state that teachers are being furloughed and businesses are in danger of going under.

Madigan "isn't going to pass a tax hike without Republican votes, for political reasons, and the Republican leader (Cross) isn't going to let his members vote for a tax increase, for political reasons," said Charles N. Wheeler, head of the Public Affairs Reporting program at the University of Illinois at Springfield. "If there wasn't an election, there might be more willingness to deal with this."

Wheeler's comments were featured in a May 3, 2010, article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Download a PDF of the article