Dodge calls out Springfield incompetence as Moody's reports unfunded pension growth in Illinois
Jim Dodge sees Illinois’ growing pension debt crisis as a grand indictment against the way lawmakers in Springfield do business.
Moody’s Investors Service recently released a report that found unfunded pension liability in Illinois grew by 25 percent in 2017 to $250 billion in total.
“It’s the cost of incompetence in Springfield,” Dodge told the Prairie State Wire.
With the pension-debt-to-revenue ratio now higher in Illinois than anywhere else in the country, Illinois Policy Institute states that “own source” revenue, or all money collected by the state excluding federal funds, now equates to 601 percent, versus a national median of 107 percent.
Moody’s and S&P Global Ratings previously downgraded the state’s bond rating to just one level above junk status and over the last nine years, Illinois’ credit rating has trended downward at least 21 times. Most of the denigration is attributed to all the rising pension debt.
A lower bond rating can impact the rate at which the state can borrow, potentially making it more difficult for local government to provide essential services and improvements to residents.
“No one should be surprised,” said Dodge, running as a Republican for state treasurer against incumbent Mike Frerichs in November’s general election. “This is what happens when decades of horribly thought out decisions go unchecked. The sad reality is that this effects everything, property taxes, services people need. The one thing you never hear from Springfield is how we’re going to shrink taxes, that’s the only way out of this mess in Springfield.”
Dodge fears the worse may not be over unless some sort of drastic change is made, he said.
“I’ve seen estimates showing that all the extra interest we have to pay over the next 20 years could come to around $2.5 billion,” Dodge said. “What that means is the total cost of Springfield’s incompetence could cost this state over $2 billion in penalty interest charges versus Triple rated states like Indiana.”