Monday, July 11, 2016

Illinois Awash in Red Ink as Budget Deal Buys It Six More Months - Elizabeth Campbell, Bloomberg

In Illinois, roadwork won’t grind to a halt, prisons won’t run out of food and schools will reopen on time. But the six-month stopgap budget that averts a government shutdown is only digging the state deeper into the hole. With no agreement between Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and the Democrat-led legislature over how to raise revenue, the state is on track to spend $5.5 billion more than it brings in by the end of June, according to initial estimates from the Civic Federation, a watchdog group. And the appropriations make no dent in the $111 billion debt to the state’s pensions, one of the biggest drags on Illinois, whose credit rating has fallen lower than any U.S. state in over a decade. “This is a political gimmick to bring to resolution the state of Illinois’s inability to deal with its major issues,” said Laurence Msall, president of the Chicago-based federation, which tracks the state’s finances. “It does not end the fiscal crisis.”

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