Trying it their way, VI

It’s a timely moment for another of our comparisons, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn having just rolled out his new budget plan.

With the past 12 months for context, it’s a marvel to behold.

A year ago, Scott Walker confronted the need for government employees in Wisconsin to make modest contributions to their health insurance and pensions, to repair a multi-billion dollar deficit.  In Illinois, with government employee benefits ruinously underfunded, Quinn raised income tax rates two-thirds and hiked business taxes in a desperate bid to continue spending as usual.

Today, Wisconsin is recovering. And Illinois? Last Wednesday Quinn proposed to shut down numerous mental health facilities, close four state prisons, cut Medicaid, lay off state employees, quit funding insurance benefits for retired teachers, and tax oil companies based on their ownership of drilling rigs outside U.S. territorial waters.

The greatest marvel is Quinn’s acting ability:  He’s just made the stunning discovery that government employee pensions are unfunded and is shocked by the dereliction of others in not solving the problem by now. It’s the Chicago way, we guess.

Anyway, compare and contrast: One year ago, Scott Walker led the way to work off the state’s structural deficit without tax increases or government employee layoffs. One week ago, Pat Quinn said he’s slashing services, raising taxes, and terminating jobs and benefits for state workers and retirees. Guess which state’s government workers are trying to throw their governor out of office.

Memo to Wisconsin government employees: Try acting like grownups just long enough to ask yourselves if you’d really prefer doing things Pat Quinn’s way.

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