The state has few options when it comes to cutting spending, according to a group promoting financial responsibility. The governor is right, says Laurence Msall, head of the Civic Federation – Medicaid has to be cut to the tune of $2.7 billion, which will require cuts in the reimbursement rate, and state employee pensions will have to be trimmed.
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“It is terribly unfortunate that we find ourselves in a place in Illinois with not being able to fulfill the promises that previous general assemblies and administrations have made. But there is no realistic means to find $85 billion to pay down that unfunded liability,” he said. Msall says his group evaluated the possibility of a tax increase, but he says more revenue could have been sold to a wary public only if it was earmarked for education, and the fact is the money would have to go toward Medicaid and pensions. He says these cuts will be needed long-term anyway, so it’s better to make them now, not delay them by bringing in more revenue.