Dist. 52 candidate: Audit paints grim fiscal picture for state
The annual state audit revealed that the last time Illinois successfully balanced its budget was 15 years ago, prompting Dist. 52 GOP Senate candidate Mike Madigan to take to Facebook to comment on the state’s long-standing money problems.
“Fifteen years ago, I stood on the floor of the Illinois Senate working with majority Republicans to uphold a half-billion dollars in gubernatorial budget cuts the last time Illinois achieved a balanced budget,” Madigan, who once served as a legislative aide for the Illinois Senate and former Gov. George Ryan, wrote. “You read that right ...15 years ago. Here is the (Democratic) Auditor General's statewide audit, which shows what the Democrats have wrought in the ensuing years.”
Last year, Illinois’ financial situation went from bad to worse, the audit said. When the state ended fiscal 2015 on June 30, the general fund deficit had grown to $6.9 billion from $6.7 billion in fiscal year 2014, the audit, by Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino, showed.
The increased deficit was due to the partial expiration of a temporary income tax hike enacted in 2011, which decreased revenue by $1.8 billion.
The audit report warned that the state’s budget deficit, unfunded pension liability and retiree health care, and low credit rating would likely impact the state’s ability to access credit markets to borrow money for operational expenditures and increase the interest rate on the amount borrowed.
Illinois has the worst-funded pensions and the lowest credit ratings among the 50 states, and as legislators resumed the session after a month-long spring break, the state’s budget impasse is now in its 10th month, with no budget resolution in sight for 2016 or 2017.
The report also revealed that supporting a $108.6 billion unfunded pension liability and $32.5 billion due on bond payments, with roughly $22 billion in assets, resulted in a net deficit of $125.3, billion compared with $121.2 billion in fiscal year 2014 – placing Illinois at the top of the list for the largest overall net deficit among the seven states that ended fiscal year 2015 in the red.
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Champaign, IL, United States