Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza Lays Out Stark Truth in Direct Public Address
Editorial, MuniNet Guide Staff
The Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza set a good example, acting in a spirit of statesmanship, as a responsible elected state official on Wednesday, sounding a clear alarm for immediate enactment of a sustainable and affordable state budget prior to July 1, 2017.
The fallout from failure to pass a budget for the State of Illinois by July 1 are spelled out in full, depressing detail by Ms. Mendoza. The collapse of the ability to continue to provide essential governmental services is not a threat, but becomes a reality if elected officials fail to come to an agreement. By August 2017, the court ordered payments could be approximately $185 million more than revenues available to pay. The Comptroller noted that debt service on Illinois bond debt must be paid to assure continued access to borrowing. However, partisan deadlock from all sides, and the resulting lack of budgetary action, has already led to credit downgrades that force debt service payments to be paid with extremely high interest rates; further inaction just exacerbates a problem that will adversely impact taxpayers and the beneficiaries of state services for years to come.
Illinois must now pass a balanced budget, with sufficient revenue sources to provide the necessary funds for the continued provision of essential services, including funding for schools, infrastructure, social services, Medicaid payments subject to a Federal Court consent decree, and even lottery payments.