If California Is America’s Greece, What Is Illinois?

Matt Welch and I have both analyzed California’s total conversion into a single-party state, the November election having given Democrats veto-proof majorities in both houses of the state legislature.

But Illinois voters, too, have handed their state government pretty much entirely over to the Democrats. Arguably, Illinois also happens to be a state in even worse fiscal shape than California. Reuters’ reporting of the state’s new normal doesn’t give much hope for austerity from the left there:

Illinois Democratic lawmakers, facing the state's own version of the fiscal cliff, are expected to use their newly won veto-proof majority in the legislature to solve the state's impending financial crisis with permanently higher tax rates on personal income and corporations.

Illinois, like California, on Tuesday elected a Democratic supermajority. The outcome was thanks mainly to the handiwork of powerful state House Speaker Michael Madigan, who deftly drew new districts to favor Democrats following the 2010 U.S. Census.

Illinois, also like California, has one of the lowest debt ratings among the states.

It faces an even worse financial future unless the legislature acts quickly to make permanent the tax increases passed by Democrats in 2011, takes steps to cut spending and reforms the creaking state pension systems.

There’s nothing else in the story that indicates spending cuts or pension reform are actually coming. On Thursday, Gov. Pat Quinn said he’s considering more bond sales to deal with the state’s $6.5 billion in unpaid bills.

And those temporary tax increases? How did those do for Illinois?

The estimated $7.5 billion raised by the 2011 tax increases was quickly gobbled up by the state's annual pension payments, according to Dan Long, executive director of the Illinois Legislature's Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability.

But you can bet those tax increases were sold to Illinois voters as vital to preserving public services.

Quinn’s Administration wants the legislature to tackle pension reform in January. But like Gov. Jerry Brown in California, Quinn really isn’t calling the shots anymore. Illinois and California’s anti-austerity movements appear to be picking up steam. So which of them is Greece and which of them is Spain?

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  • Question of Auban||

    "If California Is America’s Greece, What Is Illinois?"

    Venezuela?

  • CatoTheElder||

    Bulgaria?

    As in Greece without beaches.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Italy?

  • fish||

    "If California Is America’s Greece, What Is Illinois?"

    Venezuela?

    Doesn't your choice imply that there is something of value to be pumped out from beneath its surface? I'm not seeing that with Illinois.


    "If California Is America’s Greece, What Is Illinois?"

    Venezuela? Greece with really shitty weather!

  • Question of Auban||

    "Doesn't your choice imply that there is something of value to be pumped out from beneath its surface? I'm not seeing that with Illinois."

    Do victims of the mob count?

  • Question of Auban||

    Or unliving but registered voters?

  • fish||

    Only if they've been down there long enough to convert to petroleum.

  • Question of Auban||

    Illinois politicians believe they don't need real sources of energy. They think all they need is cronyism.

    Soon enough reality will come and it will bite.

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    Believe it or not there is oil production in IL. Not much granted but there is some oil.

    http://dnr.state.il.us/mines/education/indus4.htm

  • Scarcity||

    Not to ruin the joke, but IL is actually a major coal producer

  • Scarcity||

    Nevermind. IL is a coal producer; nothing major about it thought. Roughly 3% of domestic production is from IL.

    http://www.nma.org/pdf/c_production_method.pdf

  • C. Anacreon||

    But it does have a town called Coal City, aka 'the doorstep to Chicago's western suburbs.'

  • Geoff Nathan||

    It also has a town called 'Carbondale', where I lived for over twenty years. Of course, it's high sulfur coal, which is why it's not much use these days.

  • C. Anacreon||

    Also former home of incredible Hallowe'ens.

  • Mike M.||

    America's commie redshirt brigade has gone so completely off the rails and is now so psychotic that they're voting for their own destruction, like lemmings jumping off a cliff.

  • pmains||

    Is the entire commie redshirt brigade inside a metaphorical train? How, then, are they jumping like lemmings off of a cliff? Are the jumping from the train? That doesn't seem very lemming-like. Maybe after the train went off the tracks, they exited the wreckage and formed a herd, which was coaxed off the cliff by a Disney nature videographer?

  • ||

    Crete?

  • ||

    Hey, don't forget about the 1-party state of Connecticut! They just announced an "unexpected" $1.2 billion deficit a year after huge unprecedented tax increases. But no worries, the governor has "no intention" of further raising taxes to cover the shortfall.

  • fish||

    Federal bailouts and ObamaPhones for everyone!

  • ||

    Connecticut is not a one-party state, but you go on not understanding that if you want.

  • ||

    Um, the Democrats control the Statehouse, State Senate, and Governorship. Yeah, it's a real battleground out here.

  • ||

    Yeah, and the last several governors were Republicans, and you have no actual idea how shit works there. Considering I'm from there, I think I understand it better than you.

  • crazyfingers||

    I'm from here too, moron. Why are you so quick to defend incompetent liberals? What are you a state employee or something?

  • ||

    Riddle me this, bat-moron: in what way did I defend incompetent liberals? In any fucking way? I'm waiting.

  • R C Dean||

    Um, the Democrats control the Statehouse, State Senate, and Governorship.

    If that's not a one-party state, what is?

  • ||

    Epi and I had this out the other day, as I also believe CT to be a one-party state, based on my dealings with them.

    He believes that if a republican was gov in the recent past, that negates it being a one-party state.

    To me, that's akin to being in Germany in 1934 and saying, "What do you mean? There was divided gov't just a couple of years ago. Of course we don't live in a one-party state!"

    Not to mention the fact that the CT "republicans" I dealt with would be considered pinkos in Texas.

  • nicole just can't even!||

    I'm still totally with Epi on this, although I think on the state level it's been showing dangerous signs of going full-D-retard.

  • ||

    How? If dems are the majority of every branch of gov't including the executive, it's literally the definition of a one-party state.

    It doesn't matter whether it was one in the recent past or not. That is 100%, completely and utterly irrelevant to the status in the present.

  • nicole just can't even!||

    Ugh post eaten as spam, doesn't want me to link to the stats on voter registration, but as of last year 20% registered R, 37% registered D, with lots of places still R strongholds (like, all the towns in Fairfield County).

    I said I think it is going that way on the state level, but Malloy has been governor less than two years at this point (and he had the benefit of being a D from Fairfield County). Hard to say how long it will last.

  • ||

    Here's the thing Nicole; you and Epi both brought up seeing "Romney" signs, you bring up voter registration - none of that matters.

    Does one party control all branches of gov't? That is literally the only relevant question. If the answer is yes, then it's a one-party state, regardless of voter registration, past governors, yard signs, or anything else.

    I don't know why everybody is acting like it's such a big deal. I don't have time to look up the stats, but I'm willing to bet most states are one-party.

    Illinois is almost certainly, Texas, California, Mississippi, Alabama, etc.

  • R C Dean||

    I'm willing to bet most states are one-party.

    Yup, and getting moreso.

    Democrats now control all three bases of power — the governorship and both houses of the state legislature — in 14 states and Republicans in 23, with only 12 states sharing power.

    The number of states with divided government is down from 31 just 16 years ago to 12 today, prompting speculation about the country’s evolving partisan geography.

    Squirrels ate the link. Sorry.

  • Invisible Finger||

    well, it really depends on how gerrymandered the districts are. This is how Illinois becomes a one-party state. You've really got Southgern Cook county, Chicago, and its satellite cities (Joliet, Kanakaee, Aurora, Elgin, Waukegan), plus East St. Lou and a little over half of Rockford as Dem. The rest is GOP but each give enough districts a slice of the aforementioned areas, and they all get 55% Dem votes.

    The trick is to concentrate the enemy - so the GOP districts are all 90% GOP and make sure most of the Dem districts are only 55-60% Dem. This happens at the fed level, too. How this shit ever passed Constitutional muster is the real crime.

  • ||

    This is how Illinois becomes a one-party state.

    How does gerrymandering give you a Democrat Governor?

    Are state lines gerrymandered?

  • DJF||

    “””But you can bet those tax increases were sold to Illinois voters as vital to preserving public services.”””

    Vital to preserving public employees.

  • OldMexican||

    If California Is America's Greece, What Is Illinois?

    America's Butthole.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Armpit! We prefer "armpit"!

  • fish||

    I've smelled both....sorry John you work in America rectum!

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Work and live, gah!

  • JBinMO||

    I thought that was New Jersey.

  • Invisible Finger||

    The Sucker State

  • C. Anacreon||

    winner and the absolute truth.

    From one who spent the first twenty-five years of his life in America's Butthole and the next twenty-five in America's Greece. Where to go for the next twenty-five? New Zealand?

  • KPres||

    Reuters’ reporting of the state’s new normal doesn’t give much hope for austerity from the left there:

    Illinois Democratic lawmakers, facing the state's own version of the fiscal cliff, are expected to use their newly won veto-proof majority in the legislature to solve the state's impending financial crisis with permanently higher tax rates on personal income and corporations.

    Uh, what the fuck do you think austerity is if not tax hikes?

  • ||

    Spending cuts. At least that's what real austerity is.

  • Invisible Finger||

    When my taxes go up, I cut my spending.

  • DJK||

    Stay away from the Wikipedia article on austerity. Jumps into neo-Keynesian ideas pretty early on.

  • Belgian||

    America's Germany, circa 1935.

  • Delroy||

    I hate Illinois Nazis!

  • ||

    Good thing those evul Rethuglikkkans aren't in charge then, they'd change the capitol to Skokie!

  • OldMexican||

    Illinois, also like California, has one of the lowest debt ratings among the states.

    Yes, but that's because of those greedy rich misers who want to invest only in places where they can make money!

    What about the people, huh?

  • fish||

    Yes, but that's because of those greedy rich misers who want to invest only in places where they can make money!

    I thought we all agreed to the language on other earlier threads. Monocled, Top Hatted Autocrats.....

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'd say Germany, because of the Illinois Nazis, but Illinois lacks the efficiency and economic strength of Germany.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Albania, circa 1956?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Pat Quinn is no Enver Hoxa. However, Mike Madigan would probably do in a pinch.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    I f the commute from southern WI was not out of reach, I would have left long ago.

    "But you can bet those tax increases were sold to Illinois voters as vital to preserving public services."

    Nope, We were told we needed them to pay the old bills and unpaid pension obligations - guess what happened to the past due bills? They were paid you say? HA!

    Reform will have to wait for Mike Madigan to die of old age or we get lucky and he has a grabber or such. His little girl is waiting in the wings to run for Governor to carry the family legacy FORWARD, however.

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    Lisa Madigan?

    IL legacy politicians.

    I hate IL legacy politicians.

  • Bobarian||

    California, like Greece, is a nice place to visit but a really shitty place to live.

    Illinois is a shitty place to either live or visit, so...

    Kosovo?

    Libya?

    Chechnya?

    New York?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Kosovo - similarly criminal-run.

  • Shit-Eating Aardvark||

    Gaza

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Nah, the Med is nicer than Lake Michigan.

  • ||

    Whatever country is ball freezing cold in the winter and hot combined with 90+ percent humidity in the summer.

  • Chris Mallory||

    The Massac County Sheriff put forth a plan to rehire laid off county employees by increasing the number of speeding tickets given to out of state drivers on I-24 .

    Cairo is a hellhole. If you have to travel through Cairo, do it before noon. The natives don't get out of bed before then.

    Even when Quinn tries to do the semi right thing and shut down a couple of prisons, the courts and unions block it.

  • Shit-Eating Aardvark||

    I motorcycled through Cairo. IL where they pronounce it Kay-Row. Weird.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    This morning, the CEO of Deere was on Bloomberg. Oddly enough, nobody asked him about the business environment in the great state of Illinois.

    However, he did mention a large expansion of the Waterloo Plant, which it just so happens is NOT in Illinois.

  • califernian||

    The more you tighten your grip, Illinois, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.

  • ||

    Thread weiner. =)

  • FD||

    Yikes, I dunno. After that he vaporized the planet.

  • LarryA||

    I guess that's why ten Illinois counties voted for concealed carry.

  • Ralph Wylie||

    As a native Californian I can advise all to watch and learn because, "As California goes, so goes the USA."
    We are the crash test dummies of Keynesian economics, Mexican invasion/open borders, strangling Environmentalists, undeserved/unearned entitlements, ran by Union controlled Liberal Democrat Socialists. Just here Obama is "Brown", as in professional politician Governor "Moonbeam" Jerry Brown.

  • Sevo||

    Piling on, you left out the recent 'non-political' re-districting, which amazingly lead to a 2/3 dem majority in the CA legislature.
    Can't wait for the gov't funding of campaigns so our tax dollars can make sure no politician ever leaves office upright.

  • herbiejerome||

    Having spent my fair share of time in Chicago, it has become a place I love to death and hate with a passion at the same time. Its horribly frustrating.

    Unfortunately, I came to realize how politicians view Illinois residents, tax donors who must pay pay pay and pay some more. The only serious solutions I've ever seen in Chicago are always some sort of increased taxes (and by that I include fees, etc as well). Efficiency or budget reform is given lip service. They simply take more, continue to run out of money, then take more again. When it gets to be too much, they then come up with real winners like leasing the parking meters for eternity (then blowing the money in a couple years) or speed cameras (you know, for the children) that will bring in loads more money. Income tax increase. Well that's "temporary", kinda like the tolls on the Illinois Tollway....

    I love the city on the whole. But starting with that parking deal a few years back, I feel as if they are now constantly looking at my wallet. I felt it change, like the switch flipped, at that point. It might take off sting if we were driving on pristine streets, with pristine transit, and top-notch services, but we are far from it.

    The audacity how they keep taking more shocks me. People can leave. People do leave. Taking more from a dwindling pie eventually gets you Detroit.

    Sometimes no matter how much you enjoy a place, you have to wonder when it is enough.

  • Anders||

    It's Somalia and the Chicago is Mogadishu.

  • Robert Jordan||

    Just another Great Lakes, rust-belt, union-dominated, socialist, bone-headed economic catastrophe growing on gutted hulk of America like a mass of barnacles.

  • nikea||

    Forty-one percent of Johnson voters self-identify as http://www.cheapfootballcleatsairs.com/ libertarian. Only 14 percent self-identify as conservative and 10 percent self-identify as liberal. Using the Reason-Rupe ideological typology, 65 percent of Johnson voters are libertarian, the remainder is liberal or http://www.nikefootballcleatstrade.com/ conservative, and none are communitarian.

  • Tablet pc||

    I think washington is american's Illinois

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