Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker (D) September 2019 Porker of the Month for signing a $40.1 billion budget without any spending restraints and $1.4 billion in pork-barrel projects.
Illinois currently has a $223.9 billion shortfall, which breaks down to a debt burden of $52,600 per taxpayer. The state has $6 billion in unpaid bills and the lowest credit rating of any state in the country. Its unfunded pension liability tops $130 billion. Illinois taxpayers are so saddled with debt, taxes, corrupt local government, and dwindling middle-class jobs that 157,000 residents have left over the past five years.
Gov. Pritzker claims his budget deal means “a new era of fiscal stability has arrived in Illinois” and called it a “watershed moment for Illinois.” On the contrary, his budget contains tens of billions in new spending, including $1.4 billion for pork projects like pickleball courts, dog parks, snowmobile paths, school playgrounds, swimming pools, and arts grants. It also included a controversial $1,600 pay raise for state legislators. Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) said, “The Pritzker policies of higher taxes, out of control state spending and legislative pay raises will be very harmful to Illinois citizens. Republican insiders who supported the Pritzker budget should be ashamed of themselves.”
CAGW President Tom Schatz said, “Gov. Pritzker might think that his budget will somehow bring ‘fiscal stability’ to Illinois, but the deal will create an even higher debt burden per taxpayer. State officials and Gov. Pritzker have made financial decisions that will continue to devastate the state’s economy. Illinois residents should be outraged that their governor is ignoring the state’s fiscal failures. Gov. Pritzker’s reckless budget treats taxpayers as a bottomless piggy bank and is disastrous to Illinois’ fiscal sovereignty.”
Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. For more than two decades, Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers and government officials who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.