Budget Crisis Good for Government
Tough decisions are a part of governing, and Illinois' $2 billion budget shortfall is forcing many of them ("a href="http://www.pjstar.com/news_columnists/x875596653/FINKE-Extra-days-likely-wont-fix-budget-bind">July 5, "Extra days likely won't fix budget bind"). This is not the disaster it is made out to be, but rather an opportunity to expose how gluttonous the spending habits in the state have become.
The first place to start would be cutting the $686 million in pork-filled spending outlined in the Illinois Public Policy Institute's "2008 Illinois Piglet Book." An example of the many bizarre expenditures in the budget include a half-million dollars for the conservation of pheasants.
Since Gov. Rod Blagojevich took office in 2003, the state's appropriations have increased nearly $7 billion. It's high time Springfield injects some real fiscal discipline instead of claiming the budget has a revenue problem that will cause Illinois residents and businesses to suffer if not fixed.
John Nothdurft (email@example.com) is the budget and tax legislative specialist for The Heartland Institute.