Truth in Accounting data supports Halbrook's push for legal separation between Chicago and Illinois
State Rep. Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) believes a recent Truth in Accounting report adds credibility to his idea that Chicago should become its own entity through a legal separation from the rest of Illinois.
“Findings like these are a big part of the reason why I push for the separation,” Halbrook told the East Central Reporter. “Chicago’s finances are so under water, yet up to 80 legislators from there are in Springfield driving policy and making decisions. People want to separate from there and be able to make better decisions for themselves.”
Truth in Accounting recently reported that Chicago has the highest combined taxpayer burden among the 10 largest U.S. cities at $119,110. That was nearly $35,000 more than New York City, owner of the second-highest taxpayer burden at $85,600.
“I think this will hamstring the people of Chicago in that this burden of debt will keep them from funding things that might have a higher priority,” Halbrook said. “As for the rest of the state, we’ve seen things play in the past where Chicago keeps coming to Springfield looking for ways for everyone else to bail them out. It just increases the tax burden on other taxpayers.”
Forbes recently reported that most of Chicago's taxpayer burden stems from unfunded retirement obligations, promised retirement benefits, unfunded pension liabilities and retiree health care benefits.
“It’s why we’ve got so many people pushing for the separation,” Halbrook added. “There are people that are really serious about this and I’m optimistic that it will happen. I think for the people in the legislature like myself, it is incumbent upon us to make sure that it does happen. “