Governed by Children
Illinoisans ought to be outraged over the FY 2006 budget deal.
We apparently now have a budget that exceeds $54 billion. In 1998 state spending was about $38 billion. That's a nearly 50 percent increase in just eight years. Don't we all wish the state's economy ... or our own wages ... had grown that quickly!
To reach a balanced budget without borrowing or raiding the pension funds, state lawmakers needed to cut about $1.2 billion. A 2 percent spending cut would have accomplished this. I find it remarkable they cannot cut spending a mere 2 percent after increasing it 50 percent.
We are governed in this state by children. They want what they want, when they want it. They avoid responsibility for their decisions and care nothing for the consequences. That is how ill-disciplined children behave.
Steve Stanek (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the author of Heartland Policy Study No. 107, "Illinois' Public Pension Crisis," released on May 24, 2005. He is also managing editor of a monthly publication addressing budget and tax policy issues across the country.