The state budget – the one which was approved in May and which took effect in July – is not doing enough to make headway on any of Illinois’ financial problems, according to a review by the Civic Federation. Laurence Msall, the president of that Chicago-based nonprofit, says, “The state of Illinois is missing opportunities to stabilize its government finances. It’s missing opportunities to pay down the unpaid bills because it continues to ignore the long-term consequences of the short-term political difficulties over pension reform and fiscal stability.”
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The pension crisis is the subject of a conference committee, which has been meeting since July and which may or may not have a bill ready for this month’s veto session. The state faces a $100 billion unfunded pension obligation. Msall says the state has wasted the opportunities afforded by a 2 percentage point increase in the income tax, an increase which is to begin a sunset next year.