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Capital Piglet Book

Capital Piglet Book

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Published by: Illinois Policy Institute on Oct 05, 2010
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If You Build It,Debt Will Come
A Closer Look at the Illinois Capital Spending Spree
 
If You Built It, Debt Will Come: A Closer Look at the Illinois Capital Spending SpreeIllinois Policy Institute & Citizens Against Government Waste- 1 -
THE ILLINOIS POLICY INSTITUTE
 Te Illinois Policy Institute is a nonpartisan research organization dedicated to supporting ree market principles andliberty-based public policy initiatives or a better Illinois. As a leading voice or economic liberty and governmentaccountability, we engage policy makers, opinion leaders, and citizens on the state and local level. Te Institute is actively engaged on the issues o budget & taxes, education, government reorm & transparency, healthcare, and transportation. It also runs the Liberty Leaders program, helping over 1,000 volunteers around the state getinvolved with these issues on a local level. For more inormation about the work o the Illinois Policy Institute, or tosubscribe to our weekly e-newsletter or quarterly magazine, please visit our website at
 www.illinoispolicy.org 
.
Chicago Oce
190 S. LaSalle StreetSuite 2130Chicago, IL 60603Phone: (312) 346-5700Fax: (312) 346-5755
CITIZENS AGAINST GOVERNMENT WASTE
Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) is a private, nonprot, nonpartisan organization dedicated to educatingthe American public about waste, mismanagement, and ineciency in government.CAGW was ounded in 1984 by the late industrialist J. Peter Grace and nationally-syndicated columnist Jack Andersonto build support or implementation o the Grace Commission recommendations and other waste-cutting proposals. Sinceits inception, CAGW has been at the oreront o the ght or eciency, economy, and accountability in government.CAGW has more than one million members and supporters nationwide. In a little over two decades, has helped savetaxpayers $1.08 trillion through the implementation o Grace Commission ndings and other recommendations.CAGW’s ocial newsletter is Government WasteWatch, and the group produces special reports and monographsexamining government waste and what citizens can do to stop it. CAGW is classied as a Section 501(c)(3) organizationunder the Internal Revenue Code o 1954 and is recognized as a publicly-supported organization described in Section509(a)(1) and 170(b)(A)(vi) o the code. Individuals, corporations, companies, associations, and oundations are eligible tosupport the work o CAGW through tax-deductible gits.1301 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Suite 1075 Washington, DC 20004Phone: (202) 467-5300http://www.cagw.org
Springfeld Oce
802 South 2nd Street2nd FloorSpringeld, IL 62704Phone: (217) 528-8800Fax: (217) 528-8808
 
If You Built It, Debt Will Come: A Closer Look at the Illinois Capital Spending SpreeIllinois Policy Institute & Citizens Against Government Waste- 2 -
If You Build It, Debt Will Come
A Closer Look at the Illinois Capital Spending Spree
Prepared by Nicole Kurokawa
Introduction
Illinois is in dire nancial shape, but that hasn’t stopped politicians rom spending with vigor.In February 2010, the Illinois Policy Institute released the
 2010 Illinois Piglet Book
in conjunction with Citizens AgainstGovernment Waste, highlighting over $350 million in wasteul operational spending. Tis report provides a ollow up to the
 2010 Illinois Piglet Book
by oering a closer look at Illinois’s capital spending plan.On July 13, 2009, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law legislation nicknamed “Illinois Jobs Now!”, which gavelawmakers $31 billion to dole out to pet projects, delaying much-needed spending restraint reorms while enabling thegovernment’s profigate spending habits.Highlighting spending decisions that were made in 2009 is critical because, as this report details, even during times o budget crises lawmakers are ar rom rugal. Tey should, in short, cut up their taxpayer unded credit card.Illinois aced an $11.6 billion combined budget shortall in 2009, yet the legislature managed to pass a $31 billion capitalbill that relies on borrowing, higher taxes, increased ees, and expanded gambling. Just when the state’s ocus should havebeen on reducing costs, new liabilities were created. Te political leaders that passed and signed the 2009 capital bill arethe same individuals who have ailed to balance the 2010 general budget. Because the politicians in charge reused tostreamline and prioritize, Illinois residents will likely ace an even higher budget decit next year. Tese chronic decits and mounting debt have led to a series o declines in the state’s credit rating. According to theIllinois Comptroller in an August 2010 report, “Since December 2008, the state’s general obligation bonds have beendowngraded our times by Fitch, twice by S&P and three times by Moody’s.” o top it o, “Illinois also has a negativeoutlook—meaning the possibility or urther downgrades persist—with two o the three agencies as they remainconcerned by the state’s scal position.”
1
In eect, the debt the state takes on in the uture will be charged higher interestrates commensurate with a “higher risk.” Te Pew Center on the States has pronounced the Illinois budget “unsustainable,”noting in a November 2009 report that the state has run decits every year since the 2001 recession.
2
Political Handouts
 Te capital spending bill demonstrates how political clout can turn into cold, hard cash, oten at the expense o the greatergood. For example, Senate President John Cullerton’s (D-6) district and nearby areas have done very well by him, despiteoccupying the wealthy Chicago neighborhoods o Lakeview, Old own, and Lincoln Park—where average home prices in2008 topped $600,000.
3
Earmarked projects include:
 
•
$2,300,000 or Te Old own School o Folk Music, which included $2 million or general inrastructure
4
and$300,000 or planning and design or an expansion;
5
 
•
$1,600,000 or capital improvements at the Lincoln Park Zoo;
6
•
$1,000,000 or Te Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum;
7
•
$300,000 or Te Lincoln Park Conservancy Center which included $200,000 or the repair, rehabilitation, andrestoration to Caldwell Lily Pool, North Pond and the Diversey Building
8
and $100,000 or construction o aNorth Pond Rustic Pavilion;
9

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