Medicaid

Reuters: ‘Chicago/Cook County’ Risks Losing $526.4 Million Annually In Federal Funds For ‘Sanctuary City’ Stance

It’s being reported U.S. President Donald Trump is serious about blocking federal funds to “sanctuary cities” like Chicago (first blogged about here).

A recent Reuters analysis of federal data determined “Chicago/Cook County” risks losing $526.4 million in annual funds for shielding illegal aliens.

Rory Carroll, Robin Respaut, and Andy Sullivan noted Thursday on Reuters.com:

The numbers do not include federal money for law enforcement, which was excluded in the executive order, and programs like Medicaid, which are administered by state governments.

Though details remain vague, the order could jeopardize billions of dollars in housing, health, education and other types of federal aid.

Carroll, Respault, and Sullivan reported $2.27 billion in annual funds from the feds for the nation’s 10 largest “sanctuary cities” (Chicago included) are threatened.

To see the breakdown by city/county, check out the Reuters graphic here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Carroll, Rory, Respaut, Robin, and Sullivan, Andy. “Top 10 U.S. sanctuary cities face roughly $2.27 billion in cuts by Trump policy.” Reuters. 26 Jan. 2017. (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-sanctuarycities-idUSKBN1592V9?platform=hootsuite). 27 Jan. 2017.

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Friday, January 27th, 2017 Crime, Education, Government, Health, Housing, Immigration, Public Safety Comments Off on Reuters: ‘Chicago/Cook County’ Risks Losing $526.4 Million Annually In Federal Funds For ‘Sanctuary City’ Stance

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner To Push Drastic Spending Cuts, Sales Tax Hike In Near Future?

Some local news outlets have been giving new Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner a hard time lately, claiming he’s still in “campaign mode” and not providing much in the way of tackling the state’s economic ills.

But yesterday, Illinoisans got a glimpse of one potential measure the Winnetka businessman may turn to for improving the state’s finances. Jessie Hellmann and Ray Long reported on the Chicago Tribune website Thursday:

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner pressed a bit harder Thursday for an expansion of the Illinois sales tax as part of an agenda to right the state’s financial ship.

Using charts and graphs, Rauner explained how surrounding states use broader-based sales taxes than Illinois to take advantage of growing service economies. “We’re not competitive,” Rauner said.

The idea of expanding the state’s sales tax base to include services, such as on auto repairs, dog grooming or haircuts, has been debated in Illinois since the late 1980s. Expansion efforts repeatedly have stalled in the face of heavy resistance, but Rauner outlined how he thinks Illinois is “out of balance” with other states.

“We are not thoughtful about this,” Rauner said, adding that the Illinois sales tax is too high and too narrowly applied.

Expanding the sales tax is one of the few items Rauner repeatedly has mentioned as a part of an unspecific overhaul of the entire tax code, saying Illinois can’t “just nibble around the edges.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

It’s going to take a whole lot more than a sales tax hike to turn around the state’s economic fortunes. And Governor Rauner knows that.

So what other measures could be on his agenda for the near-term?

Rich Miller discussed the governor’s visit to the University of Chicago on January 22 and wrote on the Crain’s Chicago Business website the following day:

What is crystal clear is that he won’t ask for any more revenues without first making deep and even drastic cuts.

The new governor pointed to flat population growth and flat job growth as the roots of the problem.

Without “booming” growth, he said, Illinois can never dig itself out of the hole it’s in. And Rauner always HAS said that high taxes are a hindrance to growth.

Rauner singled out two items for his chopping block. First up, Medicaid spending.

“When you realize our job growth is flat, how do you pay for it?,” Rauner said of Medicaid. “I want to do that, but that is not sustainable.” Medicaid, which pays for everything from childbirth to nursing home care, consumes a quarter of the state’s operating budget, and despite some real reforms almost two years ago, costs are continuing to rise. And that’s a problem when next fiscal year’s budget deficit is being pegged at a whopping $9 billion.

Rauner also claimed state employees make too much money, saying they earn more than private sector workers (which AFSCME rejects, pointing to a recent University of Illinois study) and are the third-highest paid in the country. The number of state workers is declining, Rauner noted, but payroll costs are still increasing. Their health insurance is based on “low contributions” from workers, but has a high cost. So, while workers aren’t chipping in much, “you’re chipping in a lot,” he told his audience…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Deep and even drastic cuts.” “Expansion of the Illinois sales tax.”

It will be interesting to watch how Illinois Democrats- who hold veto-proof supermajorities in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly- react to such proposals if Governor Rauner goes this route.

This could get ugly real quick…

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Hellmann, Jessie and Long, Ray. “Rauner presses for sales tax expansion in U. of I. speech.” Chicago Tribune. 29 Jan. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-bruce-rauner-champaign-appearance-met-0130-20150129-story.html). 30 Jan. 2015.

Miller, Rich. “Watch out: Rauner sharpens his cleaver.” Crain’s Chicago Business. 23 Jan. 2015. (http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20150123/NEWS02/150129882/watch-out-rauner-sharpens-his-cleaver). 30 Jan. 2015.

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Friday, January 30th, 2015 Debt Crisis, Deficits, Entitlements, Fiscal Policy, Government, Health, Insurance, Political Parties, Population, Spending, Taxes Comments Off on Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner To Push Drastic Spending Cuts, Sales Tax Hike In Near Future?

Illinois Debt Crisis Latest: $9 Billion Annual Deficit, $159 Billion In IOUs

Illinois residents are waking up to disturbing news this morning. From the “Press Room” over on the website of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois:

Illinois faces $9 billion annual deficit and $159 billion in IOUs

New analysis (PDF) by the Fiscal Futures Project finds no easy fix to Illinois’ chronic fiscal imbalance. Illinois now faces a $9 billion annual deficit that will grow to $14 billion by FY 2026.

“Years of pay-later budgeting has resulted in a massive imbalance between sustainable revenue and spending,” said Richard Dye, co-director of the Fiscal Futures Project. “Like a person in deep credit card debt, the state has been spending more than it can afford, and is covering the gap by issuing IOUs.” The report finds that the state’s IOUs now total $159 billion—more than twice the inflow of revenue in a single year. It’s a monumental problem that will require a long-term fiscal plan that includes tax increases, spending cuts, and economic growth.

The report, Apocalypse Now? The Consequences of Pay-Later Budgeting in Illinois, examines what it would take to balance the budget. The options are limited.

• Bringing back the 2011 tax increase would close only about one-half of the gap projected for the next several years.
The problem cannot be solved with spending cuts alone. Because Illinois can’t cut debt service or pension payments, it would take at least a 20 percent cut of all remaining spending to eliminate the deficit. This includes education, corrections, Medicaid, public safety, transportation, and more.
• Economic growth is also not a cure-all: an increase in the growth rate of personal income by an extra one-half percent every year for 10 years (an optimistic scenario) would only have a modest effect on the deficit.

The report concludes: “Changes in awareness, expectations, and policy are needed to restore fiscal balance in Illinois. Being saddled with paying past years’ bills means that today, Illinoisans must reduce their expectations for the services that they can expect from government and be prepared to pay more for government, now and in the future.”

(Editor’s notes: Bold added for emphasis)

Like I blogged a week ago:

A lot less government services. Much higher fees, fines and taxes.

An outcome I see for Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois residents down the road.

And plenty of Illinoisans wonder why their neighbors are high-tailing it out of the “Land of Lincoln.”

You can read a summary fact sheet or the entire report over on the IGPA website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 Debt Crisis, Deficits, Education, Entitlements, Fiscal Policy, Government, Health, Public Safety, Spending, Taxes, Transportation Comments Off on Illinois Debt Crisis Latest: $9 Billion Annual Deficit, $159 Billion In IOUs

Chicago’s Financial Condition Deteriorated More Than Many Other Major U.S. Cities From FY2007-2011

It’s been some time since I last blogged about The Civic Federation, an independent, non-partisan government research organization that provides analysis and recommendations on government finance issues for the Chicago region and State of Illinois. Back on February 5, 2013, the Federation’s Institute for Illinois’ Fiscal Sustainability released an analysis showing the State of Illinois was on track to accumulate nearly $22 billion in unpaid bills by FY2018 “unless action is taken to curb rising pension costs and plan for increases in the Medicaid program.”

Illinois ended fiscal year 2013 with an estimated $6.1 billion in unpaid bills.

These days, attention is back on The Civic Federation again for a recent analysis focusing on the City of Chicago. From a November 8 press release:

A report released today by the Civic Federation uses nine indicators of financial condition to measure the relative financial performance of Chicago and 12 other major U.S. cities from FY2007 to FY2011. Of the cities analyzed, only Boston and Detroit consistently performed worse than Chicago by these metrics during the five-year period that encompasses the Great Recession and slow recovery. The full 56-page report is available at www.civicfed.org.

“Chicago’s relative financial performance during this period was defined by many of the same challenges it faces today including a structural deficit and high debt levels,” said Civic Federation President Laurence Msall. “These threats continue to handicap Chicago’s performance as many other cities were somewhat better equipped to weather the 2008 financial downturn and resulting economic challenges.”

A majority of the cities experienced deteriorating financial condition during the five-year period, likely due to the Great Recession and its aftermath. However, Chicago fared worse than most of the other cities. In addition to Chicago, the 12 other major U.S. cities analyzed were Baltimore, Boston, Columbus, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City (MO), Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and Seattle. These cities were also the focus of fiscal analysis by the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Philadelphia Research Initiative, with the exception of Houston which the Federation substituted for Atlanta after a change in Atlanta’s fiscal year led to inconsistent analysis.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

“Only Boston and Detroit consistently performed worse than Chicago by these metrics during the five-year period that encompasses the Great Recession and slow recovery.”

Great. Just great.

You can read the entire press release here, and the study here on the Federation’s website.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Monday, November 11th, 2013 Debt Crisis, Deficits, Entitlements, Fiscal Policy, Government, Recession Comments Off on Chicago’s Financial Condition Deteriorated More Than Many Other Major U.S. Cities From FY2007-2011

Illinois Could Have Nearly $22 Billion In Unpaid Bills By FY 2018

It’s been a while since I last blogged about the Civic Federation, an independent, non-partisan government research organization that provides analysis and recommendations on government finance issues for the Chicago region and State of Illinois. In late September 2011, the Chicago-based organization had just released its analysis of the enacted FY 2012 State of Illinois budget, and noted the financially-challenged state was expected to end the year with over $8 billion in unpaid bills from vendors, local governments, and others (related to business tax refunds, employee and retiree health care and Medicaid).

Over $8 billion in unpaid bills.

Fast forward to today. From a Civic Federation press release Monday:

Illinois’ Unpaid Bill Backlog Projected to Reach $22 Billion by FY2018

State urgently needs long-term plan to address rising pension and Medicaid costs, loss of income tax revenues

(CHICAGO) – An analysis released today by the Civic Federation’s Institute for Illinois’ Fiscal Sustainability shows the State of Illinois is on track to accumulate nearly $22 billion in unpaid bills by FY2018 unless action is taken to curb rising pension costs and plan for increases in the Medicaid program…

“Nearly $22 billion in unpaid bills.”

Illinois residents, get ready to bust out your wallets.

You can read the entire Civic Federation press release here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Monday, February 25th, 2013 Entitlements, Fiscal Policy, Government, Health, Insurance, Spending, Taxes Comments Off on Illinois Could Have Nearly $22 Billion In Unpaid Bills By FY 2018

Paul Volcker-Led Group: Illinois Could Have Trouble Meeting ‘Its Population’s Basic Needs’

Any remaining doubts I may have had about my home state of Illinois being in bad shape are gone after reading a new report from the non-partisan, Paul Volcker-led State Budget Crisis Task Force. In June 2011, former New York Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch and former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker assembled the task force to examine threats to near- and long-term fiscal sustainability in six U.S. states: California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Virginia. From the “Summary” portion of the Report of the State Budget Crisis Task Force: Illinois Report that was released Wednesday:

Illinois’ budget is not fiscally sustainable. Despite recent progress and difficult choices, it is still in a deep hole. It cannot simultaneously continue current services, keep taxes at current levels, provide all promised benefits, and make needed investments in education and infrastructure. All of the major threats identified by the Task Force in its July 2012 report have contributed to Illinois’ current problems and will contribute to future budget-balancing struggles.

Illinois has the worst unfunded pension liability of any state, an estimated $85 billion. It has underfunded its pension systems since the early 1980s. Contributions now must escalate rapidly if Illinois is to honor promised benefits; by fiscal year 2015, pension costs (and related debt service) could take up one-fourth of the state’s resources. Illinois will not be able to fund other priorities unless it adopts serious pension reform.

Medicaid enrollment and expenditures in Illinois doubled between 2000 and 2011, growing far more rapidly than tax revenue. In June 2012 the state made major changes that reduce spending, but rising health care costs and the aging population will continue to drive costs upward. Without further reform, unsustainable Medicaid growth will crowd out other essential areas of the budget.

Illinois’ debt is also crowding out the budget. In 2003 Illinois sold a record-breaking $10 billion in pension obligation bonds, and again in fiscal years 2010 and 2011, the state sold bonds to cover its required contributions. The result of pension borrowing is that Illinois’ debt per capita is one of the highest of any state. Over 60 percent of Illinois’ total outstanding debt is due to pension bonds.

Illinois has compounded its challenges with poor fiscal management and opaque budgeting. At the onset of the 2008 financial crisis, Illinois was essentially insolvent. In the years leading up to the crisis, Illinois borrowed and shifted money across years and funds to “balance” the budget, without providing sustainable resources to pay for ongoing commitments. Budget gimmicks became a standard practice. The state has perennially pushed its bills off to the future; at the start of fiscal year 2013, unpaid obligations from prior years were approximately $8 billion. Illinois did all this without any sort of long-term financial plan to restore balance, and without reserves. Illinois has been doing backflips on a high wire, without a net.

Narrow, eroding tax bases have contributed to Illinois’ fiscal difficulties. State tax revenues were stagnant for at least a decade before the recent recession. Illinois enacted a major, temporary, income tax increase in 2011, but the additional revenues are being offset by reductions in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) monies. Income tax revenues will not keep up with growth in the aging population because Illinois exempts retirement income. Other tax bases — on corporate income, cigarettes, and motor fuel — have been eroding and failing to keep up with economic growth. Illinois’ sales tax rates are high, but its base is narrow and the state taxes relatively few services. Illinois tax revenues are not likely to grow enough to meet future needs.

Federal deficit reduction threatens Illinois, as other states. Federal dollars account for approximately a quarter of the state’s all-funds budget and, after the expiration of federal stimulus spending, currently are $14.8 billion. Federal aid matches about 50 percent of Illinois’ Medicaid spending, and constitutes about 35 percent of the budget of the Department of Human Services, 30 percent of transportation, 20 percent of K-12 education, and 20 percent of spending for environment and natural resources. Federal spending cuts will put these programs at risk.

Illinois’ aging and deteriorating infrastructure is in urgent need of immediate repairs to meet basic standards of public safety. Beyond that, it needs expansion and modernization to accommodate future growth. Over the next several decades, Illinois’ infrastructure needs will likely exceed $300 billion, yet the state does not have a comprehensive plan to address this critical need. There are real costs associated with underfunding of infrastructure: shipping and travel delays, congestion, pollution, and diminished economic growth.

The state’s fiscal problems affect local governments in Illinois by shrinking revenue transfers at a time when these monies are most needed. The state has also proposed shifting funding responsibility for teachers’ pensions from the state to local school districts. This would eliminate some incentives that can drive pension costs upward, but would put considerable pressure on local finances. Local governments struggle with their own revenue problems, unfunded pension liabilities, and bond rating downgrades. The state does minimal monitoring of local government finances, and budget cuts could further reduce this oversight.

Illinois’ past fiscal choices and future threats challenge the state’s ability to meet its population’s basic needs, let alone accommodate future growth. Infrastructure is deteriorating. Education is threatened. Public safety, public health, and care for the needy all are at risk. Taxpayers and the state’s competitiveness are also at risk.

Illinois needs to make tough choices — now…

“Illinois’ past fiscal choices and future threats challenge the state’s ability to meet its population’s basic needs.”

Basic needs? That’s pretty bad.

This report comes on the heels of an analysis by the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan tax research group, in which Illinois residents were found to pay the 11th highest state-local tax burden in the United States in fiscal year 2010.

Early in 2011, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn hiked personal income taxes 67 percent.

It will be interesting (scary?) to see where the “Land of Lincoln” stands in next year’s Annual State-Local Tax Burden Rankings, when FY 2011 is factored in.

You can read the entire State Budget Crisis Task Force report on their website here (.pdf file).

You can view the latest Tax Foundation tax-burden rankings on their website here.

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Thursday, October 25th, 2012 Bonds, Debt Crisis, Deficits, Education, Entitlements, Fiscal Policy, Government, Health, Infrastructure, Public Safety, Retirement, Spending, Taxes Comments Off on Paul Volcker-Led Group: Illinois Could Have Trouble Meeting ‘Its Population’s Basic Needs’

Government Cash Handouts Surpass Tax Revenues

Stumbled on the following this morning. Almost as bad as peeing in my Wheaties. From James C. Cooper of the financial site The Fiscal Times earlier this week:

For the first time since the Great Depression, households are receiving more income from the government than they are paying the government in taxes. The combination of more cash from various programs, called transfer payments, and lower taxes has been a double-barreled boost to consumers’ buying power, while also blowing a hole in the deficit. The 1930s offer a cautionary tale: The only other time government income support exceeded taxes paid was from 1931 to 1936. That trend reversed in 1936, after a recovery was underway, and the economy fell back into a second leg of recession during 1937 and 1938.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Cooper explained the debacle in detail:

Government transfers of income to households started to overtake personal taxes at the start of 2008, and the gap has been widening. In 2010, households received $2.3 trillion in income support from unemployment benefits, Social Security, disability insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans’ benefits, education assistance and other cash transfers of government funds to individuals. Also last year, households paid $2.2 trillion in income, payroll, and other taxes. The difference was $125 billion…

The brick wall rapidly-approaches.

Source:

Cooper, James C. “Budget Deficit: Government Handouts Top Tax Income.” The Fiscal Times. 18 Apr. 2011. (http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2011/04/18/Budget-Deficit-Government-Handouts-Top-Tax-Income.aspx). 21 Apr. 2011.

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Thursday, April 21st, 2011 Depression, Education, Employment, Entitlements, Government, Insurance, Main Street, Taxes Comments Off on Government Cash Handouts Surpass Tax Revenues
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