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Chicago – Taxpayers United of America (TUA) and Illinois taxpayers have reason to celebrate today after the announcement Tuesday evening that Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) has indefinitely suspended the Illiana Expressway, among other cuts to state expenditures.
“Taxpayers should not subsidize massive and unnecessary crony construction projects, especially when Illinois taxpayers are desperately looking for both tax relief and leadership from Springfield,” said TUA’s operations director, Jared Labell. “Killing this project shows taxpayers that Rauner’s tough budget cuts include sensible opposition to extravagant government spending on an unwanted expressway.”
The project was estimated to cost taxpayers more than $1.1 billion to construct, in addition to the very real threat of taxpayers being forced to make up the difference for insufficient revenue once completed.
Among other announced cuts estimated to save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, Rauner has suspended Edge tax credits and tax breaks for the movie industry, which have always served to subsidize business at the expense of taxpayers.
Rauner also immediately halted all Illinois State Police vehicle purchases, but that decision did not go far enough, said Labell. “The Illinois State Police are the Praetorian Guard for the political class and are inessential. If Rauner really wants to shake up Illinois, he should consider drastic cuts to the superfluous Illinois State Police force and save taxpayers untold billions in expected salaries, benefits, and pension costs.”
TUA published an analysis of the Illinois State Police in April 2013, conducted by its sister research organization, Taxpayer Education Foundation (TEF) and covered by CBS 2 in Chicago. The analysis detailed the huge unfunded pension liabilities posed by the Illinois State Police and publicized the department’s top 200 pensions, all above six-figures.
“The funding suspensions announced yesterday were a good start at pushing back against the Madigan-Cullerton spending spree they call a budget,” said Labell. “But the Rauner Administration must continue to look for other systemic cuts and reforms to stop the financial fiasco Illinois is facing.”