As if to set the stage for Governor Quinn’s budget address, the Illinois Association of Realtors (IAR) and the Commercial Club of Chicago held separate briefings in Springfield last week. Their messages were much the same: the recession in Illinois is not over, government policies must change to balance the budget, and job creation is key to recovery.
The IAR guest economist, Geoffrey Hewings of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois, reviewed data showing Illinois has been in an employment recession for over 10 years. State fiscal policies are forcing a cycle of jobs moving out, people moving out, consumer expenditures falling and more jobs lost.
Hewings said to just return to the economic conditions of the year 2000 will take 600,000 new jobs which at current rates of job growth will take another decade. IAR President Sheryl Whitehurst said home foreclosures are expected to remain a challenge in the marketplace. “We look for leadership from the lending community to expedite the short sale process and create a more workable lending environment for qualified buyers.”
Meanwhile the president of the Civic Committee for the Commercial Club of Chicago Tyrone Fahner told House Republicans that Illinois is broke and must take some harsh medicine quickly to get better.
Fahner outlined a plan for reforming the state pension plans, reforming state health plans for employees and retirees, and funding the plans going forward according to actuarial standards. The president also called for reforms and cuts to other areas of the operating budget and a multi-year plan to balance the budget and pay unpaid bills. Visit the website www.IllinoisIsBroke.com for further details.