After more than 35 years of the same people running the legislature, the state of Illinois is nearly bankrupt. We have the lowest credit rating among all 50 states. We have billions of dollars in unfunded pensions for teachers and other government employees, and we are way behind in payments to our state universities and nursing homes.
Gov. Pat Quinn and Speaker Mike Madigan claim this is happening not because of overspending but because we don't have enough revenue from taxes and other sources. They said the temporary increase in income and business taxes would solve the problem, but they outspent the additional income and now they want to make the tax increases permanent.
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They say that not to do so will jeopardize our educational system. But if you look back at our history you will recall that the legislature added the state lottery because the income from that would provide all the funds needed without increasing taxes. But they outspent that additional income. Then they allowed casino gambling, but they outspent that additional income as well. In addition, our legislature has raided the teacher and government employee pension funds to pay for other state expenses -- and still they overspent and have not been able to restore the money. Why do the teachers unions and rank and file consistently support, endorse and vote for these same people to run the legislature despite this history?
Perhaps it is time for the teachers unions and many other Illinois voters to change their habits and elect some new people to the state legislature and to our governor's mansion. We need a change in our leadership and in the way our state government works, or else we will all suffer the consequences of a state that declares bankruptcy because the legislature always outspends any increases in revenue.