ILLINOIS — Members of Wisconsin’s Republican legislature want the state’s congressional delegation to oppose using federal COVID-19 relief money to help bail out Illinois’ pensions.
A letter signed by 43 GOP lawmakers said that Illinois has for decades spent and borrowed recklessly.
The letter also references Illinois’ $138 billion public employee pension debt, as well as a recent letter Illinois Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, sent to Illinois’ congressional delegation seeking at least $41 billion in federal aid, including $10 billion to stabilize state-run pension funds.
Wisconsin State Rep. Barbara Dittrich, R-Oconomowoc, signed the letter. She said people in her district should not have to pick up the tab for others.
“This is a tough economic time for everyone, and I think the people that have made the hard sacrifices in my district should not be required to bail out people that have not done the same,” Dittrich said.
The letter mentions other states as well.
“Wisconsin taxpayers should not be responsible for funding bailouts for irresponsible states across the country, like Illinois, New York and California. Please stand with Wisconsin taxpayers and reject the multi-trillion dollar bailouts being considered by Congress,” the letter said.
Dittrich said the economy was in great shape before the pandemic, providing an opportunity for state governments to improve finances.
“We’ve paid down debt, and we had a record amount of money in our rainy day fund here in Wisconsin,” Dittrich said. “Those are things Illinois could have easily replicated but chose not to.”
The Center Square – Kevin Bessler