FACT: Illinois has a massive budget crisis
FACT: The crisis was, to a large degree, the fault of the George Ryan Administration and previous legislatures. And don't discount free-spending administrations prior to Crooked George.
FACT: Illinois needs to solve this crisis -- as soon as possible.
FACT: Any solution Illinois tries is going to hurt. A lot.
Now, here comes the hurt.
While we were huddled over our Memorial Day grills, broiling brats and swilling Wisconsin's finest, our legislature put the final touches on another budget scam.
They've declared a 'pension holiday.' That's a nice way to say they're just not gonna pay into the state pension fund for a couple of years and hope like hell the state can make up the difference in, oh, 30 of 40 years. Fat chance.
Wonder if Ameren CP would mind if I declared a 'power holiday' and delayed paying my power bill for a couple years, hoping like hell I can make up the difference in 30 or 40 years. Gonna get awful dark in my house, I'd bet. Ameren will NOT be amused by such accounting practices.
I'm all for creative financial solutions for the state's budget mess. I KNOW it's gonna take a few years to pull us out of the red ink. I KNOW it's gonna hurt. But this?
It kinda feels like George W-imbecile's solution to paying for his little unnecessary, illegal and immoral war: Make all war appropriations come as little extra items and supplemental appropriations not included in his yearly budget; build up the national debt to astronomical proportions, and hope like hell our kids or their kids can pay it off.
I don't often agree with Rep. Bill Black of Danville but he had me nodding at a quote from Monday's News-Gazette:
"You are mortgaging our future," said State Rep. Bill Black, R-Danville. "You are playing with fire, you are playing with potential bankruptcy of the pension systems."
He's right. It stinks.
And so it goes.