Have you read about Illinois in the news lately? Last Tuesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged the fiscally irresponsible state government for misleading bond investors about the health of its public pension system. The Land of Lincoln’s elected officials have been piling up mountains of pension debt for years and refusing to pay it off. In fact, Illinois currently owes $192 billion in unfunded pension liabilities over the past few decades thanks to its legislature’s long history of shortchanging pension payments.
While the spendthrift politicians were caught this time around, it’s not the only trick they have up their sleeve. Governor Pat Quinn has been rubbing elbows with the Obama Administration in an effort to secure a federal bailout. Just last year in his state budget, the governor wrote “significant long-term improvements will come only from … seeking a federal guarantee of the debt.” That’s right, Illinois’s officials are scheming to shift their self-incurred debts onto the backs of taxpayers like you.
Sadly, Illinois is just one of many states that may be interested in swindling federal taxpayers. Other states like California and New York have also nearly bankrupted their public pensions and may be looking for a bailout courtesy of Uncle Sam.
Fortunately, some fiscally responsible statesmen from the unlikeliest places are taking a stand against this thievery before it takes place. Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois is poised to reintroduce his No States Bailouts Resolution, requiring states as sovereign entities to retain responsibility for the debts they have racked up.