Friday, June 30, 2017

Slow Motion Disaster

For John, BLUFWhich is why I am leaving Illinois before the end of next week.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Old Gray Lady and Reporters Julie Bosman andMonica Davey.  The dateline is 29 June 2017.

Here is the first part of the article:

Road construction and bridge repairs may come to a halt.

At least one agency has threatened to downgrade Illinois’s credit rating to junk, a crippling borrowing position no state has ever seen.

And in perhaps the most visible and immediate sign of the pressure on Illinois leaders to solve their budget standoff at long last, the multistate lotteries — Mega Millions and Powerball — are to be suspended.

With hours left before Illinois begins an unprecedented third year without a full budget, warring leaders were still trying to strike a deal in a political and fiscal crisis that has engulfed the state since 2015.

After two years without a budget, many people who depend on state services — public university students, drug addicts, troubled teenagers, the elderly — have already felt the repercussions.

But perhaps the most peculiar part of this endless budget standoff has been the opposite:  Life has gone on uninterrupted for many residents.  Because of court orders and other stopgap measures, state workers were paid.  Schools opened.  Prisons functioned.  Roads were built.  After a while, some people seemed to grow inured to the risks and consequences of a budget deadlock.

“This impasse has been very cleverly designed to minimize the immediate obvious impact on middle-class families that don’t have a need for state-funded social services,” said Andrea Durbin, the chief executive of the Illinois Collaboration on Youth, an association for providers of youth and family services.

“The people who get impacted are the people who are sick, who need the support from the state to be safe and healthy and get back on their feet and become self-sufficient, or to live their final days in dignity,” Ms. Durbin said.

The Illinois State Comptroller, Ms Susan A Mendosa, says:
she foresees “unmanageable financial strains” starting in July.
July starts tomorrow.  But, the first four days are two days of a weekend, a Monday before a holiday and then a National Holiday.  Then we get serious about July.

The backlog in money owed is over $15 billion, which is big money at the state level.  It is over one-third the size of the Massachusetts State Budget.

On the other hand, Ms Mendoza is a Democrat and the budget impasse is between a Republican Governor and a Democratic Party controlled Legislature.  It is easy to say it is just politics, but it is actually two different philosophies of how to handle the responsibilities of State Government.

Regards  —  Cliff

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