Legislative leaders should lead toward solutions

To the Editor:

In her column entitled ‘Special Column: Results From Moody’s Analytics Assessment’ published April 5 in the Herald, State Rep. Currie summarized a report by Moody’s Analytics commissioned by the House of Representatives. The study aimed to help the House determine how to deal with the state’s growing fiscal problems. According to Rep. Currie’s Column, Moody’s concluded that a state budget and adjustment to the income tax were the key requirements to get the state’s fiscal house in order. There were no specifics about the budget.¬† pension changes, workmen’s compensation, limits to property taxes, and term limits, were raised by legislators but Rep. Currie reported that Moody’s thought that these measures would not be helpful. Likewise, there were no specific suggestions about the income tax.

Looking at the Illinois Government web site, I could not find the Moody’s report, but Rep. Currie’s office gave me the link [http://cgfa.ilga.gov/Upload/2017MoodysEconomyILForecast.pdf]. The report raises many issues besides the budget and income tax. The first sentence in the summary decries our soft job creation and our “descent into fiscal quicksand.” Other serious problems are decreasing population, compared with most surrounding states, problems with school funding, and a poor business climate, especially because of fiscal uncertainty. Other reports point out that we are likely to lose one or two congressional seats in the next redistricting, decreasing the state’s share of some federal resources and clout in Washington.

To be sure, Illinois has many assets an educated workforce, excellent transportation, and a growing number of corporate headquarters moving to Chicago.

It is clear that the state’s negatives far outweigh its positives. It is long past time that our politicians speak truthfully to the voters and make sensible proposals for solutions. Not just a budget but cutting government costs, trimming union pension and health care expenses, and, yes, tax increases are mandatory if our fortunes are to improve. As a lifelong Democrat, I keenly wish to see our legislative leaders do what must be done and lead toward solutions to these grave fiscal problems.

Alfred L. Baker