FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Alexi Giannoulias (D), call your office.
I understand that the man is desperate to escape to Washington, DC – but the bills are piling up. And I am not being figurative in the slightest:
Even by the standards of this deficit-ridden state, Illinois’s comptroller, Daniel W. Hynes, faces an ugly balance sheet. Precisely how ugly becomes clear when he beckons you into his office to examine his daily briefing memo.
He picks the papers off his desk and points to a figure in red: $5.01 billion.
“This is what the state owes right now to schools, rehabilitation centers, child care, the state university – and it’s getting worse every single day,” he says in his downtown office.
Mr. Hynes shakes his head. “This is not some esoteric budget issue; we are not paying bills for absolutely essential services,” he says. “That is obscene.”
The current deficit is 12 billion, it’s getting harder and harder for the state of Illinois to pay its actual day-to-day bills, and the Democratic-controlled legislature refuses to admit that it can’t ‘budget’ every expensive feel-good exercise that comes down the pike. Let me push back on this a bit more: there is no sense raising taxes in a climate like this, for the good and sensible reason that raising the taxes will simply mean that the legislature will take the added revenue and waste it, too. You don’t give booze to an alcoholic, heroin to a junkie… and you don’t give increased tax revenue to a Democratic-controlled legislature. You just don’t.
What you do do is go ask hard questions of the fellow whose “primary responsibility is to protect and wisely invest taxpayers’ money.” Questions like Why doesn’t the state have the money to pay its bills? and Why aren’t you at your desk fixing this problem? and How are you going to find the money that the state needs to pay its bills? and Don’t you think that the Comptroller’s Office needs some help, here? Unfortunately, the current Treasurer of Illinois is kind of busy trying to line up a new job. One that will allow him to showcase his financial ‘skills’ on the federal level.
Yes, I know. Quite alarming.
PS: Mark Kirk for Senate. They don’t have creditors out looking for him.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.