Experts: Not enough waste in budget to solve deficit

By Matt Porter |

Published 07/01 2014 10:22PM

Updated 07/02 2014 10:21AM

ILLINOIS -- With Illinois in a budget crisis, the state has tried to cut wasteful spending from the 2015 budget. But does it solve the problem? WCIA-3’s Matt Porter says there may not be enough waste to go around.

In the governor's race, both Democratic Governor Pat Quinn and Republican candidate Bruce Rauner agree on one thing, this year's budget has too much wasteful spending.

The governor cut $250 million from Capitol building improvements when he signed state budget bills Monday. However, the cut was still less than one percent of the $35.7 billion operating budget for 2015.

Political expert Kent Redfield said wasteful spending cuts look good to the public, but it’s not the way to solve the state's more than $4 billion deficit.

"Everybody wants to cut waste and fraud,” Redfield said, “and there's not enough waste and fraud."

He said politicians would need to look at major program cuts ranging from social services, education and public safety along with increasing taxes.

"Cutting spending and increasing revenue to get to some point where it's sustainable, nobody wants to have that conversation,” Redfield said.

In an election year, Redfield said legislators used special budgetary loopholes to pass a budget while avoiding dealing with the deficit. He said the next General Assembly and governor won't be able to ignore the hard reality ahead.

"Citizens of Illinois are probably ultimately going to end up paying more for less services,” Redfield said.

Some agencies have already said without additional funding later in the year, they will run out of money. The budget this year was crafted entirely through the legislature without building off the governor’s proposed budget.

Quinn has said it's incomplete. Legislators say Quinn's budget wasn't workable and this was the best they could do before the deadline.

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