'Propaganda' about balanced budget distracts from state's 'financial crisis,' Rep. Caulkins says
None of the reports about the new state budget again being woefully unbalanced come as any great surprise to Illinois state Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur).
“We go back to this magical thinking idea where politicians act as if they say it, it must be true,” Caulkins told the Chambana Sun. “It’s not true. This assertion that the budget is balanced falls apart; it falls apart when you hear politicians say that they’re fully funding the pensions and they’re balancing the budget at the same time.”
Just days after Gov. J.B. Pritzker officially signed off on the new $40 billion spending plan that he and supporters have enthusiastically touted as fair and balanced, analysis by Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) concludes that the numbers are at least $1.3 billion out of whack. IPI also notes that the shortfall comes despite lawmakers raising taxes and adding borrowing as part of the plan.
“We have a fiscal crisis here and we continue to perpetuate this propaganda,” Caulkins said. “It deflects from the fact we have a financial crisis in this state, and that’s the big problem. We’re never going to get through it when we have politicians telling people that the budget is balanced and our pension payment is fully funded. I think that when you say 'balanced budget' and 'fully funded pensions' in the same sentence, it’s deceitful when it’s not true.”
Caulkins added that he’s not sure how much longer things can hold together without major changes being made to the way the state operates.
“This is a free economy and the people who live in Illinois are voting with their feet,” he said. “They’re leaving and the people that are leaving are the people we can least afford to lose. The part of this that we can’t quantify is the number of companies that aren’t coming here. It’s painfully obvious that the people that run this state, the politicians that have run it for the last 30 years, have failed miserably.”