News & Politics

Wisconsin Lawmakers to Illinois: We're Not Bailing Out States With History of 'Reckless Budgeting'

AP Photo/John O'Connor

A group of 43 Republican lawmakers from Wisconsin has sent a letter to the state’s congressional delegation in Washington asking them not to support any coronavirus relief bill that gives money to Illinois and other states with a history of “reckless budgeting.”

“These responses to the disease have led to drastic changes in budget projections for states around the country: sales tax collections are down, income tax deadlines have been extended, unemployment rates are at historic levels and more businesses are permanently closing every day,” the letter said.

“That being said, Wisconsin has spent eight years making the tough choices to get our fiscal house in order,” the letter said. “We do know that our neighbors to the south have spent decades spending and borrowing recklessly.”

Democrats in Illinois who run the state are allergic to “hard choices.” Pension and health care costs for retired state workers are out of control and only a federal bailout can save the politicians from having to file bankruptcy — an embarrassment that would almost certainly lead to a Republican takeover of the legislature.

Whenever possible, Illinois Democrats have bypassed making tough choices on spending and simply raised taxes. Or, in the case of pensions, paid only a fraction of what they should into the system. The result is the worst pension crisis in the nation and some of the highest business taxes in America.

The letter from Wisconsin Republicans, first reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, references Illinois’ worst in the nation $138 billion public employee pension debt as well as a recent letter Illinois Senate President Don Harmon of Oak Park sent to the state’s congressional delegation seeking at least $41 billion in federal aid, including $10 billion to help stabilize the pension system.

“After years of failing to fund their overly generous pension system, Illinois is already asking for the federal government to bail them out of these series of poor financial decisions,” the letter said.

“Wisconsin taxpayers should not be responsible for funding bailouts for irresponsible states across the country like Illinois, New York and California. Please stand with Wisconsin taxpayers and reject the multi-trillion dollar bailouts being considered by Congress,” it said.

That attitude will be prevalent in a lot of places where citizens ask uncomfortable questions. Foremost among those questions; “What genius thought up the idea of raising taxes in a recession?”

Why should Wisconsin taxpayers pay for that? Illinois lawmakers have made awful choices and the most dangerous one is waiting for all of us in November. The Pritzker Progressive Tax will add a burden to 100,000 small businesses that won’t just make our house a little more messy, it will burn the house to the ground. Businesses closed. Jobs gone. More people leaving.

Pritzker promises the wealthy will be the ones paying more, but Illinois will be paying for it when all the wealthy folks leave the state in droves to a cleaner house. A nicer house. One that probably has a smaller property tax bill too.

The state still has more than $6 billion in unpaid bills going back nearly a decade after topping out at more than $17 billion last year. Even if they get bailout money, how long before they’re back in Washington with their hands out for more?

Trump, McConnell, and Wisconsin legislators all agree: no money for states to fix their past mistakes and corruption.