Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Rescuing Illinois - and local governments

More disclosure is a good thing when it comes to the fiscal mismanagement rampant at local, state, and federal levels--

Rescuing Illinois - chicagotribune.com: "The perils caused by decades of lawmakers' overspending, overborrowing and overpromising aren't just threatening your state government, which now has nearly $200 billion in debts and unfunded obligations. Many of the 7,000 local governments statewide also are sick with debts and busted budgets. . . . County Treasurer Maria Pappas has been relentless about requiring Cook County's 553 municipalities, school districts and other taxing bodies to disclose to citizens the full extent of taxpayers' debts. Her newest, most ambitious online database exposes how dramatically these governments' debts have outpaced their rising tax collections. Check out Pappas' numbers at chicagotribune.com/pappasdebt. She told us Monday that credit rating agencies also are inspecting her data; that could lead to downgrades of the sort state government again will face if it doesn't address its debts. The site's most useful feature allows you to type in your 14-digit property index number and see how well, or how poorly, all the local governments you support with your property taxes have performed. Countywide, these governments have run up $140 billion (yes, billion) in debts — including more than $33 billion in unfunded pension obligations."

And this is just one county in Illinois!


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