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Civic Fed: Lawmakers Once Again Taking Illinois Down Bad Budget Path

Printed budgets
WNIJ

Illinois is about a quarter of the way into its fiscal year and building up debt along the way. A new report from the Civic Federation says it's a return to detrimental policies that landed Illinois in an unstable financial position in the first place.

There was one, glaring question for lawmakers last spring: what were they going to do about the temporary income tax?

Illinois hiked rates in 2011, but only until midway through this fiscal year. The 5-percent rate rolls back to 3.75 percent in January.

Instead, says Lawrence Msall, they ignored the question.

"This budget, that is the spending plan for FY15, allows - because of gimmicks, because of shifting funds from one fund to the next and using accounting sleight of hand - actually runs up the unpaid bills by $400 million."

Msall is head of the Civic Federation, a nonpartisan research group focused on maximizing government efficiencies.

He says as it stands now, this year's budget will make it even harder to tackle next year's, when Illinois could face a full year without money from the higher tax rate.

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