A report released March 2 by the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago provides insight into Illinois’ fiscal crisis, building upon the dire warnings of a  prior 2006 Civic Committee report that cautioned Illinois was heading toward “financial implosion.”

According to the 2009 report, the state’s budget gap exceeds $8 billion when taking into account revenue shortfalls, unfunded pension obligations and unpaid Medicaid bills. The Civic Committee once again recommended the state cut spending and reform its Medicaid, pension and healthcare programs.

The Civic Committee also noted that the lack of transparency in Illinois’ fiscal affairs contributed to the current fiscal mess, and urged the adoption of a process that would provide more timely, consistent and comprehensive updates on the state’s finances, something the Senate Republican Caucus has proposed the last several years.

Many of the reforms and initiatives that Senate Republicans have been pushing could have helped the state avoid many of the serious economic problems state officials are now forced to address.

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