The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

February 21, 2013

Get busy in Springfield


Commercial-News

DANVILLE — Remember Illinois’ fiscal crisis? Remember how the state faces an unfunded pension debt of something like $90 billion? Remember how the state can’t pay its bills and is millions of dollars behind in funds lawmakers promised to send to schools?

Remember?

Apparently, few who work inside the Illinois General Assembly or Gov. Pat Quinn’s office do.

We’ve seen action on other issues of importance, but little movement toward a resolution to fix the state’s fiscal mess.

Despite a 2 percent increase in the state’s income tax and minor moves to make cuts, the financial swamp the state finds itself in continues to grow.

Local schools face difficult days of trying to patch together budgets without knowing whether the state will pay its promised share or whether that share will be cut more than it already has.

Quinn missed an opportunity during his recent State of the State speech to hold lawmakers’ feet to the public fire and to propose a real solution. Instead, he spoke in generalities.

Few lawmakers have stepped into the forefront to lead any kind of significant effort to resolve this crisis.

Some legislators saw this dark cloud growing years ago, but few listened. The late state Sen. Harry “Babe” Woodyard whose district included Vermilion County wanted to move school funding away from property tax without success. It might have made a difference today, at least as far as schools are concerned.

The public must begin to demand action on the part of their representatives. Otherwise, we can expect the same from Springfield — nothing.