Dodge sees need to address the issue of cities on brink of bankruptcy
Jim Dodge sees certain undeniable truths in Illinois’ ongoing struggles and uncertainties.
“If Springfield continues to force cities to do things they can’t afford to do or pay for, then the future will be no different from everything else we’ve already experienced,” Dodge told the Prairie State Wire. “That much we can all be sure of.”
Dodge said he is paying close attention to the Local Government Bankruptcy Neutral Evaluation Act being proposed by Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton). Ives has hailed House Bill 5644 as legislation that “authorizes a local public entity to initiate a neutral evaluation process if that entity is unable to meet its financial obligations.”
The proposal comes on the heels of the city of Harvey having its tax revenues garnished due to growing pension liabilities. Ives also warned that at least 20 other Illinois cities could soon face a similar fate without an immediate financial restructuring.
In every instance, she added, most of the distress has been caused by rising pension obligations. In the case of Harvey, the city is reported to be tens of millions of dollars in debt in unfunded pension payments.
“Clearly the number of cities and entities close to bankruptcy has to be addressed,” Dodge, an Orland Park Republican running for state treasurer, said. “The better option would be for government to stop spending beyond its means and to start being smarter about government.”
Dodge said bankruptcy should only be viewed as a last resort, even though he concedes that affairs in some places may be so bad that it may truly be the only option.
“Bankruptcy means something has already failed and it means real pain for several different parties,” he said. “If Springfield continues to force cities to do things they can’t afford, nothing’s going to change going forward. This is a big issue for me, and it should be for everyone else too given how serious it is. The sad thing is that it’s all self-inflicted.”