Look at the week’s news on Illinois state government. Had you dropped in from Pluto, you’d get no inkling there’s a fiscal crisis. In fact, you’d think Springfield is following a strategy of repetition inspired by a record of success:
• More borrowing — very expensive borrowing. The state raised $500 million through a near junk rated bond offering, though Mr. Market is already trading state debt as junk.
• Another unfunded mandate. The House passed a mandate that starting public school teachers across the state be paid a minimum of $40,000 per year.
• Step pay raises. AFSCME is demanding immediate step pay raises for about 38,000 of the public workers it represents. They don’t want to wait for a legal resolution that’s pending.
• Death to the new program giving school choice to the poor. A bill was introduced to undo the extremely popular school choice scholarship program for low income kids that became law last year.
• $635,000 for three “lactation wellness rooms.” It was approved by the House.
• And Governor Rauner? He was abroad on a trade mission and returned Thursday. No need to be here when standard Springfield operating procedures are in place.
One ray of hope: A proposed constitutional spending cap picked up some bipartisan support.
It’s truly terrifying. The foot remains firmly on the gas pedal as Illinois plunges into the abyss.
UPDDATE: And how could I have forgotten? Illinois Democrats reelected Michael Madigan as Chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party. Thirty-five of the 36 committee members voted for his reelection.
-Mark Glennon is founder and Executive Editor of Wirepoints.