Illinois needs change to resolve fiscal issues, Ugaste says
Dan Ugaste is saddened, but not surprised, by the latest illustration of Illinois’ ongoing struggles.
“Until we do something about our unfriendly business climate and address our way-too-high taxes and workers' compensation expenses, unfortunately, you’re going to see more of the same thing happening,” Ugaste, a Geneva Republican running to replace retiring Rep. Steve Andersson (R-Geneva) in the 65th District, told the Kane County Reporter. “Nothing’s going to change until we change the way we’ve been doing things.”
Ugaste points to a recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for fiscal 2017 that finds the state lost some $9.9 billion in net worth over that time, dropping its “total primary government net position” to negative $137 billion, as the latest example of that.
The numbers were compiled by measuring the net worth of assets minus liabilities. The $9.9 billion figure equates to approximately a quarter of the state’s total revenue for the year, which was approximately $38 billion, according to Wirepoints.
The losses aren’t just restricted to the state, with figures compiled by Wirepoints showing over the last decade that the city of Chicago, Cook County and Chicago Public Schools have all suffered steep losses.
Data also shows Illinois is easily outpacing other states in terms of its negative net position, and a recently booming stock market has had little effect in stemming the tide.
Research further concludes the bulk of the state’s losses over the last decade derives from still bubbling unfunded annuity liabilities. Even with markets rising in 2017 and the state’s pensions earning an unusually high 15 percent, pension liabilities stayed basically flat and the state remained heavily mired in the red.
“Our overall population and business climate continue to suffer as a result of all this," Ugaste added. “That’s a central part of my campaign platform, getting something done about all these policies that are essentially crippling the state.”
Ugaste previously told Kane County Reporter all his interactions with voters has left him convinced people are tired of being beaten up by the system and more of them are now ready to just walk away.
“We’ve got to find a way to get our fiscal house and all our finances in order,” he said. “We’re facing a really significant population decline if we don’t change course really fast.”
The 65th House District includes Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles, Pingree Grove, Hampshire and Huntley.