Topinka tells leaders to pressure lawmakers on state’s fiscal mess
By Mike Nolan email@example.com September 9, 2013 9:14PM
Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka addresses members of the Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce on Monday in Tinley Park. | Mike Nolan~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 11, 2013 6:16AM
Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka on Monday urged Southland business leaders to apply pressure on area legislators to make shoring up the state’s finances and rebuilding Illinois’ credit ratings a priority.
Speaking to the Southland Chamber of Commerce in Tinley Park, Topinka told members “you’ve got a lot of clout,” and that the business group should hold legislators’ feet to the fire if they can’t come up with workable solutions to pressing matters such as the state’s unfunded pension liability.
With a stack of $5 billion in unpaid bills on her desk, Topinka describes the state’s fiscal house as “a real mess, just dreadful,” and that ongoing financial issues might be deterring investments by business owners, or turning off out-of-state companies from considering expanding to Illinois.
The state’s worsening credit situation not only makes it more costly for Illinois to borrow money, but will leave an expensive legacy as inflated debt service on those loans is prorated over many years.
“You’re not only going to pay for it, your kids are going to pay for it and maybe your grandchildren,” she told the audience.
She criticized as “political theater” Gov. Pat Quinn’s withholding of pay from legislators because they haven’t been able to come to terms on a pension fix.
“Pensions are the issue and that is where our attention should be and we don’t need any distractions,” she said.