Illinois has compiled $14.6 billion in unpaid bills. It’s running a deficit of $6 billion, and its pension liability has soared to $130 billion.
That’s not the worst of it. The state’s nearly two-year failure to pass a budget has sent its bond ratings careening toward junk level, downgraded a staggering eight notches below most other states.
With university enrollments plummeting, large-scale social service agencies shuttering and the Chicago Public Schools forced to borrow just to stay open through the end of this school year, Illinois is beginning to devolve into something like a banana republic — and it’s about to have the most expensive election the state has ever seen.
Democrats have flooded the primary to challenge GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner, with billionaire J.B. Pritzker among them. Pritzker has already poured $14 million into his campaign for a general election that’s still 15 months away.
“Illinois is operating in a way 49 other states would never try to operate,” said Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, a nonpartisan fiscal watchdog group. “There is permanent damage that is being done that will take decades to repair.”
The devastation of the state’s finances has taken its toll on Rauner politically, despite his investing heavily on TV, digital and robocall messaging — in 2016 alone, Rauner contributed more than $50 million to his upcoming campaign. In March, 58 percent of those polled reported having an unfavorable view of the Republican, according to a poll conducted by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, up from 32 percent in 2015.
The complete story here > How Illinois became America's failed state