By: Ted Dabrowski, Mark Glennon and John Klingner

What’s happening today is unprecedented. The Coronavirus is impacting Illinoisans’ lives in more ways than can be counted. We wish our readers the best and hope you all remain healthy.

Like many of you who call Illinois home, Wirepoints is monitoring the virus’ impact on the state’s residents, its economy and its overall finances. We’re worried about how job losses will jump, output will shrink and the state’s budget hole will crater. If we were concerned about Illinois’ solvency before the virus, we’re even more so today.

The big challenge for Wirepoints is how to report on Illinois’ structural problems now that they’re all wrapped up in the broader national crisis. After all, everybody across the country is taking a hit, not just Illinoisans. And we don’t want to be insensitive about the difficult decisions that our state and local leaders face.

However, Wirepoints still has a duty to report what’s happening in Illinois. It’s our mission to help turn this state around. At some point, the worst of the Coronavirus will pass and Illinois’ old problems – in Rockford, in Harvey, in Palos Heights, in East St. Louis, in Peoria, in Danville and hundreds more places – will have to be tackled.

And if the bad conditions persist, those problems will be far worse. Moody’s expects pension debts across the country to rise by as much as 40 to 50 percent if the market collapse continues. Many of Illinois’ already-sick pension plans will suffer irreparable damage. COGFA, the state budget cruncher, says state revenue losses could total as much as $8 billion over time. And home values can be expected to fall, making Illinois’ effective property tax rates even more outrageous.

Without sweeping reforms, the day of reckoning that was already inevitable will become far worse. (Illinois is long past the definition of insolvency, as we’ve said before.)

The Coronavirus is a terrible crisis that threatens everyone, but the silver lining for many will be the clarity that only structural solutions can fix Illinois’ problems; that a pension amendment is the only way, aside from bankruptcy, to reduce the massive retirement debts that are strangling Illinois households; that rolling back collective bargaining laws is essential to cutting the state’s unaffordable property taxes; and that consolidation of Illinois’ overlapping and duplicative 7,000 units of government is key to eliminating corruption and bloat.

Most importantly, it will become crystal clear that the progressive income tax will do additional harm to recovering families and small businesses.

The solution sets Wirepoints talked about before the crisis, often dismissed as not politically feasible, will suddenly be considered possible. That will make our work all the more important.

Wirepoints has said from its start that only a devastating shock would trigger genuine reform in Illinois. If the Coronavirus tragedy is to have any bright side, it will be as the catalyst that reverses Illinois’ downward spiral and eventually turns Illinois into the destination state it should be.

In the coming weeks and months, look for Wirepoints to publish the solutions Illinois must enact after this crisis has finally subsided.

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Indy
3 months ago

Illinois is going to be destroyed.
Saving it only rewards Madigan & Co.

Poor Taxpayer
3 months ago

Illinois is DOA. The honest hard working taxpayer is all tapped out. No more money to tax, they just do not have it. Ask the greedy cops, teachers, and firemen to let up on their HUGE PENSIONS at young ages and see how they reply to you. They will sue you in court in a NY minute. The only solution is for the honest hard working taxpayer to MOVE if you do not like it. Kiss Illinois good bye ASAP. DO NOT EXPECT ANY HELP IN THE FORM OF RELIEF FROM ANYONE GETTTING A HUGE ILLINOIS PENSION. They will say… Read more »

s and p 500
3 months ago

Watch the PBS “Blackout in Puerto Rico”. The hurricane exposed PR’s dismal finances and corruption. Trump said he would bail out PR but later he let the island go into bankruptcy. Naturally he was accused of being racist for not bailing out out the island. The inhabitants of PR went for months with no electricity so if they can survive that I guess I can deal with no stores or restaurants open. I don’t really see how they can release “Wonder Woman 84” in August unless the virus mutates into something harmless like in the movie “The Andromeda Strain”.

Illinois Entrepreneur
3 months ago

“Wirepoints has said from its start that only a devastating shock would trigger genuine reform in Illinois.” I actually don’t believe this anymore. I think they will deny the real solutions to the problems until there is not just a “devastating shock” but an actual collapse. I think that it will not be the Illinois legislature or governorship that will initiate and execute reforms, but some other body, like a special bankruptcy oversight panel, or the federal government. I think that our political “leaders” have zero courage, and that they would rather everything collapse before opposing the public employee unions.… Read more »

DantheMan
3 months ago

I agree with you Illinois Entrepreneur. It will take an actual collapse before Illinois leaders do anything significant. I fear all the virus has done is teach Illinois leaders and residents that the Federal Gov often bails out cities and states.

debtsor
3 months ago

There’s literally no impetus for change when the same morons vote for the same Democrat party over, and over, and over again. I saw some article on CapitolFax (yes, I occassionally go over there) that said the # of republican primary ballots pulled this year was the lowest ever. IIRC there were something like a million more D ballots than R ballots picked this election cycle. Oswego Willy had a lot of snarky, but totally racist and ignorant comments about this, but it could be a precursor to a complete wipeout in the fall. Democrats are eager to get Trump… Read more »

Illinois Entrepreneur
3 months ago
Reply to  debtsor

The fact that Kim Foxx won completely blows my mind. Even if you are a downtown liberal, everyone is keenly aware of the dramatic increase in quality-of-life crimes due to a lack of arrests and prosecution, which is her explicit policy of “criminal justice reform.” Why would anyone want this? The truth is that she won because the unions won it for her. There was a very low turnout due to the Chinavirus, and this allowed the Machine and the Unions to win some big battles. I’m convinced that Pritzker was told by Machine insiders that it was vital for… Read more »

debtsor
3 months ago

“I’m convinced that Pritzker was told by Machine insiders that it was vital for the primary to continue on.”

This is true, they don’t care about the health of the voters going to the grimy polls touching those disgusting touch screen ballots spreading Wuhan Virus. They only care about the votes themselves.

3 months ago
Reply to  debtsor

Plus, in Illinois we are getting the “JB Pritzker spike” in cases. He didn’t act to shutter bars on March 13, and didn’t postpone the primary March 17, knowing full well the implications.

Charlotte Aines
3 months ago
Reply to  Jeff

If he had shut the bars, election judges would never have gone to work and turnout would have been even worse. That’s why he couldn’t shut bars down along with the bar owners screaming

Indy
3 months ago

Amen.

Fed up neighbor
3 months ago

Question is, will they ( Springfield) seriously enact any solutions.

Indy
3 months ago

Answer: Nope