Illinois Think Tank Proposes Balanced Fix to Troubled State Budget

Mar 08, 2011, 11:00 ET from Illinois Policy Institute

CHICAGO, March 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute has devised a balanced, line-by-line alternative to the budget proposed by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn.

Since Quinn's budget was released last month, it has been widely criticized for its reliance on hefty tax increases and $8.75 billion in borrowing. If followed, Quinn's budget would prompt Illinois to run recurring, annual deficits of nearly $3 billion by the year 2016. By the end of the decade, Illinois could fall $15 billion behind on its bills.

To reestablish Illinois as an economic powerhouse, the Institute has proposed "Budget Solutions 2012," an alternative that does not rely on the state's recent tax hikes as a revenue source, does not include borrowing and has positive cash flow for fiscal year 2012 – all while funding core services the poor and disadvantaged rely upon.

"This strange strategy of taxing, borrowing and overspending has long haunted Illinois, and it fails year after year," said John Tillman, CEO of the Institute. "It fails the taxpayers. It fails job-providing employers and small businesses. And it fails the poor and disadvantaged, whose programs are often sidelined to make way for structural overspending and exploding public employee pay, benefits and pensions."

The Institute's budget utilizes innovative reforms to ensure core services are fully funded, while rightsizing other government operations.

For example, each year the Illinois state budget is riddled with hundreds of grants and line items. Added together, the 328 items totaling $5 million or less equal almost $350 million per year – a sum larger than the total operating budget of several state agencies. In Budget Solutions 2012, the Institute has proposed replacing these line items with a $150 million Competitive Grant Funding program.

Budget Solutions 2012 will be unveiled at press conferences in Chicago and Springfield scheduled for Tuesday morning. At 10 a.m. CST Tuesday, March 8, Budget Solutions 2012 will become available at: http://illinoispolicy.org/BudgetSolutions2012.

For more information, contact the Institute's Diana Rickert at 312-607-4977.

SOURCE Illinois Policy Institute