The once great state of Illinois has been run for two generations by Democrats and a few Democrat-All-But-In-Name Republicans (notably former tax-and-spend governors Thompson, Edgar, and Ryan). It has one of the worst business climates among the states, one of the largest budget deficits and overall debt, and has the largest unfunded public employee pension system in the country. In a recent ten year period, while the state population grew about 4%, state spending grew over 40%, mostly on government employees and Medicaid recipients -- what amount to the two largest Democrat party constituencies.
To address their decade-long spending orgy, Democrats, with their huge majorities in both houses of the state legislature and the governor's chair, recently pushed through massive tax hikes -- 67% on individuals and almost 50% on businesses. And yet, the Republican state comptroller (yes, a Republican, albeit a fiscally liberal one, elected last fall) informed us (link) recently that state Democrats, rather than use that increased revenue to pay down the state debt, are spending it on themselves.
Now comes an assortment of news items that show us that just when we think Illinois Democrats couldn't get any worse, they do:
>> With the big corporate tax hike in place, they now have a real nice squeeze racket going (link), whereby big companies visit state Democrat pols to apply for special tax breaks, which are unavailable to mid- and small-sized business, in exchange for ...? Well, they don't tell us what the quo is for the quid, but we know it's something. That's the scam -- the Dems hike corporate taxes and then hand out special exemptions when they feel like it, just like Obama, Reid, and Pelosi are doing with exemptions from Obamacare for Democrat-supporting companies and unions.
>> After all the drama over the state's de facto bankruptcy, upon peeling back the obfuscation and trickery, the Illinois Policy Institute finds (link) Illinois Democrats continue to spend like drunken sailors (link). I may be going out on a limb here, but I'm thinking that all those dollars, as before, will mostly go to Democrat constituencies.
>> Today, the Chicago Tribune reports (link) that the state Democrats have been holding up distribution of charity dollars donated, some as far back as 2009, by state income tax payers at the time of their tax filing and "borrowing" those dollars for regular state spending.
>> And finally, there's a touching personal-interest story (link) in today's Tribune that involves a dedicated public servant, a lifelong Democrat politician and former Democrat candidate for governor, who in his later years has been serving, no doubt tirelessly, as president of one of Illinois' public universities, one of the many lucrative sinecures that are rewarded, like spots at Fannie Mae and Goldman Sachs, to Democrats leaving elected office. This man, the President of Southern Illinois University, is the proud grandfather of a young woman who has just been awarded one of a handful of special, all-expenses paid university "Presidential" scholarships at a school she is excited to attend. What school would that be, you wonder? Why, her grandfather's, of course! After all, this is Illinois, and as the late Democrat Chicago Mayor Richard J Daley said, roughly, when caught in a similar situation, if a man can't help his family, he should help strangers?
John M Greco