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Budget task force co-chair on Illinois' fiscal dilemma

Thu, 25 Oct 2012 04:05:00 CDT

Throughout the presidential campaign, much has been made about cutting the federal budget. But the author of a new report on Illinois' finances says those FEDERAL cuts would have a significant effect on STATE budgets. The national State Budget Crisis Task Force gives a dismal view of Illinois' finances. Deteriorating bridges and roads, climbing pension debt and health care costs, and no rainy-day fund to pull the state through emergencies. Task force co-chair Dick Ravitch says in some ways Illinois is worse off, like with pensions. In other ways it's in the same boat as other states. He says that boat is having trouble staying afloat because states and the federal government aren't coordinating sensibly:

"When I hear people saying, in both parties, that they're going to solve the federal deficit problem by eliminating the deductibility of state and local taxes, I say, they are committing state and local governments to a more rapid path to insolvency."
Ravitch, a former Democratic Lieutenant Governor of New York, says people don't realize that state government is largely responsible for education, public safety, and infrastructure. He says as the national leadership looks to address the federal deficit issue:

"they'd bloody well not forget to measure the impact that their ideas have on state and local governments."

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