No single solution to state's money mess

By Alex Davis |

Published 01/22 2014 11:51AM

Updated 01/22 2014 11:55AM

ILLINOIS -- If you thought Illinois' financial woes would improve after pension reform passed, think again. A new report out of the UI shows the new reform bill doesn't go far enough to help the state. WCIA-3's Alex Davis keeps us Connected to the Capitol.

UI researchers believe there needs to be a combination of policy changes to get the state's finances in order, saying it can't be reached by stand-alone measures such as pension reform.

"That is not an acceptable situation."

Sam Pruitt, a retired state worker, is all too familiar with the state using his pension to help balance the budget.

"Pension reform is not going to do enough. We will have to do some other things, graduated income tax, yes, possible cuts in services, although I hate to see that happening in these tough economic times."

Pruitt thinks some other combination of economic growth, cuts and tax increases are needed, even if it could end up costing him and other state residents.

"We're going to have to have some other revenue generating terms."

Professor Kent Redfield says, based on the UI's latest report, he agrees with Pruitt.

"We have a really, really serious problem that we've worked very hard to get into."

If those changes don't happen, the budget gap could widen.

"You really have to make systemic changes long-term if you're going to change those revenue and expenditure curves."

But, with elections looming, these measures could be a hard sell this year. So, they'll likely get put off yet again.

"So what this report says is we've got really serious problems that whoever gets elected governor and whoever's in charge of the general assembly, those are going to have to be addressed."

The report was put out by the Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

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