Until this year, Illinois has been under one-party rule for 12 years. The decision to over-spend and grow the size of government rests with the majority leaders. The cleanup is another matter. Gov. Rauner was handed a state budget that was out of money on his first day in office.
Not surprisingly, the Democrat majority have used recent budget hearings as an opportunity to highlight the negative impacts of recent spending cuts to balance the state’s current fiscal year budget. The blunt testimony should not be a surprise. Senate Republicans have predicted for years that state government could not continue to increase spending at a pace that was unsustainable.
Earlier this spring, a budget fix was approved to address the $1.6 billion hole in the state’s current year budget. Bipartisan legislative support and leadership from Governor Bruce Rauner brought about Illinois’ first honestly balanced budget in more than a decade. Senate Republicans remain hopeful that the harsh reality of the crisis will keep the political parties working together to find a solution that is best for all Illinoisans.
Meanwhile, Gov. Rauner’s “working groups” of lawmakers are meeting to discuss ways Illinois can reform government. They are charged with finding ways to eliminate waste, increase efficiency and end the kind of internal corruption, which saw tens of millions of taxpayer dollars squandered on ill-conceived and fruitless programs in recent years.
According to a new consumer/taxpayer report by WalletHub, the online financial website, Illinois ranks in the bottom 10 of states (41st) based on an analysis what taxpayers pay to government compared to the value of what they receive in programs and services.