As the Greek default (and it is a default no matter what they end up calling it) is finalized this week, the consensus seems to be that failure to reach a deal would cause a global financial apocalypse.
That may be true. And if it is, why aren’t we more worried about Illinois? It’s more or less the same size as Greece, its finances are in the same generally catastrophic shape, and its leaders are just as feckless and dishonest. It owes tens of billions of dollars to various investors and stakeholders and will clearly have to stiff many of them at some point. The following article captures the “failed state” dilemma perfectly:
Dripping with red ink: Will anyone fix Illinois’ budget mess?
The question isn’t whether Illinois’ finances are in dreadful shape, it’s how to fix the problem. Or perhaps more accurately, will legislators have the political will to fix it when they return to Springfield for their spring session?
Even though the legislature and Gov. Pat Quinn last year imposed a temporary 67 percent state income tax increase, Quinn’s office expects to have a $500 million budget deficit this year.
Quinn is calling for a 9 percent cut in most areas of state government, except education and health care. But even with cuts at that level, the state would have a projected $800 million budget deficit for fiscal 2015, the year when most of the tax hike expires.
Quinn’s budget spokesman, Kelly Kraft, said the state’s fiscal situation is not pretty.