WirePoints founder fears another tax hike coming down the road
Mark Glennon worries that the worst of Illinois’ crippling tax problems may not be over for already hard-hit residents.
“It (the state budget) didn’t end our problems, maybe put a dent in them a little bit, but nothing is solved,” Glennon, who founded WirePoints, said during a recent appearance on the “Illinois Rising” radio show on WIND hosted by Patrick Hughes. “The current budget is already in deficit. It’s about $1.5 (billion), $1.7 billion short. They are working to try to plug a hole right now. Next year, it will be further out of whack because spending goes automatically on some things. We are looking at about a $3 billion deficit that’s a lot of money.”
Glennon said even the numbers now being presented and dissected for review pose an issue.
“All those budget numbers are phony,” he said. “They don’t include increasing liabilities to the pensions, which were unfunded by about $4 billion per year.”
Glennon predicts Gov. Bruce Rauner will be forced to give more of an accounting for all that now that his 2018 re-election campaign is underway.
“He and Dems are going to have to explain why there is a deficit this year because they made flagrant errors,” he said of the recently passed budget. (Rep. Jeanne) Ives (R-Wheaton) is going to put Rauner and Democrats on the spot about that,” he said.
Glennon added that most bureaucrats, given the chance, “my best guess is they will pass a budget that is just phony, pretends to be balanced.”
In a recent Chicago Crain Business op-ed, Glennon shared that “in the phony world of government budget accounting, routine gimmicks include counting borrowed money, asset sales and raids on segregated funds as income. Most important for Illinois and its municipalities, budgets entirely ignore growth in unfunded pension liabilities, which are the primary source of our fiscal crisis. That's over 39 percent of the city's entire budget for next year.”
Glennon said the lingering question is how state authorities decide to deal with the situation.
“That’s going to be the question, will they try to gloss things over or will they just raise spending,” he said. “The negative impact of people moving out, business not being formed takes time to materialize.”
Glennon said the little good news he can offer about the state’s still teetering finances has to do with a still developing trend he has noticed is in the early stages of taking effect.
“The best piece of good news this year in Chicago is that the rate of unwed births has dropped dramatically,” he said. “I think that’s at the core of many of have our problems, poverty crimes. Data for decades shows the best ticket out of welfare is not having a child until you have a committed partner and a financial means to raise a child.”
Dan Proft is a host of “Illinois Rising” and is a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.