Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) on the House floor
Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) sees the recent Moody’s Investor Services reporting that Illinois’ unfunded pension liability spiked by $25 billion in the last fiscal year as an example of how much Springfield need to change.
“You add to that the fact we’re lagging behind every other surrounding state in terms of growth and it all speaks volumes,” Batinick told the Will County Gazette. “Without swift and major change to the way we do things, this downward spiral will only continue. That should be clear to everyone by now.”
Given last year’s increase, overall unfunded pension liability stands at $250 billion and Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) reports the state’s “own source” revenue, or all money collected by the state excluded federal funds, now comes in at 601 percent, or more than five times greater than the national median of 107 percent for that metric.
Both Moody’s and S&P Global long ago downgraded the state’s bond rating to just one rung above junk status and over the last nine years, the state’s credit rating has similarly been pegged lower at least 21 times.
A low bond rating can factor into the rate at which the state is able to borrow at, ultimately making it more costly and difficult for the government to offer essential services to taxpayers.
“Every election is important, but this ongoing crisis is part of what makes this upcoming one so critical,” said Batinick, running for re-election in the 97th District against Democrat Mica Freeman. “The next governor will have a big hand in drawing the next district map and we definitely need a fairer one to be able to address the things that are dragging the state down like property taxes and these un-needed regulations.”
Illinois now also has the worst pension debt in the country when viewed as a percentage of personal income and the state’s annual pension costs currently soak up more than a quarter of all general revenue expenditures, IPI states.
“Clearly, something has to change,” Batinick said.
The 97th District includes all or parts of Oswego, Plainfield, Troy and Wheatland.