Skillicorn urges reforms to rescue Illinois’ credit downgrade
Campaigning in Illinois just got tougher with a recent credit rating downgrade, but Republican candidate Allen Skillicorn is ready to meet the challenge head-on, lambasting the state’s current fiscal status and demanding reform in Springfield.
"Revenue in must match spending going out,” Skillicorn, campaigning for a House seat from District 66, said. “Illinois hasn't had a balanced budget since 2001. How can we expect the bond rating houses to take us seriously if we play fast and loose with the books?"
Moody’s, the preeminent credit authority that sets the nationwide standard for bond ratings, lowered the state’s score by just one notch — from Baa1 to Baa2 — but it was enough to produce Illinois’ dubious new position as the worst-rated state in the U.S. Skillicorn was critical of recent administration decisions that ultimately resulted in the bad news.
“Hiking taxes is not the solution either,” the candidate said. “There is little evidence to suggest that any tax hike would help balance the state budget. In 2011, Gov. Pat Quinn and (House) Speaker Mike Madigan levied the highest tax increase in state history on Illinois families and business that was supposed to pay down our backlog of bills. In two years, the state took in $31 billion in additional revenue, but it didn’t even make a dent in our backlog of bills. Those two spent all the money with nothing to show for it!”
State Comptroller Leslie Munger warned last month that financial hardship will worsen if the government failed to pass a budget by July 1, stating that existing annual funding for public social and human services and schools — currently $23 billion — will grind to a full stop without a resolution.
“I'm committed to going through the budget line by line to expose the waste and abuse,” Skillicorn said. “I also support transitioning all state employees to a defined contribution from our bankrupt pension system. The earlier we act on real reforms, the less painful they will be."
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