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June 27, 2017

Tuesday Opinion

Today’s Editors’ Choice

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Opinion in Brief

Stephen Moore: “According to the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, Illinois’ pension payments are the major contributor to spending growth. Following the recent credit downgrade, Moody’s Investors Service cited the state’s overwhelming pension debt level as a contributor to the poor credit rating and negative outlook. In November, the state reported having $130 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, but Moody’s calculates that level of pension debt as twice as high, or $251 billion. A recent Hoover Institution analysis estimates Illinois’ pension funding ratio to be 29 percent, the lowest level in the United States. According to Donna Arduin, a former budget advisor to Gov. Rauner, if the pensions aren’t curtailed, as much as one in four tax dollars in the state will soon not go to schools, roads, health care, or police and fire but to pension payments to retired employees — many of whom no longer live in the state. … So what is the lesson for the rest of America? Soak-the-rich economics almost never works. As tax receipts keep sinking in Illinois, the safety net is tattered; the roads are in disrepair; crime is out of control in Chicago; and the state is home to some of the worst schools in the nation. When you try to soak the rich, they leave; the state goes bankrupt; and it’s the middle class that gets all wet. How’s that for tax fairness?”

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