State budget problems

By WEEK Reporter

October 24, 2012 Updated Oct 25, 2012 at 9:30 AM CDT

ILLINOIS -- In the state of Illinois' budget problems, specifically the pension debt, there's $85 billion in unfunded pension liability, and $8 billion in other unpaid bills.

A budget crisis task force report puts it bluntly: "Illinois has been doing back flips on a high wire, without a net.

Illinois house speaker Mike Madigan points at other members of the general assembly.

"There's just too many people in the Legislature that don't want to do the heavy lifting of legislating,” said Madigan, the State Representative. “They want to go there and talk among themselves. They want to talk to people like you and say the right things for your consumption; but then when it comes time to cast a difficult vote they’re in the bathroom somewhere."

Madigan and some other Democrats think the state's universities, community colleges and local school districts should pay for the pensions of their own employees.

Currently the state does, and Madigan calls it "spending money and sending the bill to someone else.”

Madigan says it accounts for 75 percent of the state's annual pension payments.

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