Pat Quinn’s Term of Incompetence

Not too long ago, Pat Quinn was named the most unpopular governor in the country, and the Public Policy Polling company (not known as a right-leaning polling agency) said of him, “If Pat Quinn is the Democratic candidate for Governor of Illinois in 2014 Democrats may have a hard time holding onto the office.”

Pat Quinn

If you study Pat Quinn for very long at all, it’s not hard to see why he’s so unpopular; he has a history of incompetence, which has made for an uncomfortable five years for Illinoisans.

Here are three main areas of incompetence in the Quinn administration:

Tax Hikes and Budget Gaps

One of Quinn’s first significant actions as governor was to raise income tax rates 66%, with the promise that it would be used to pay off Illinois’ unpaid bills and close our budget gaps, but that hasn’t happened. At the time the tax increase was passed, Illinois had $8.5 billion in unpaid bills.  Now, after 3 years of the tax increase, and $18 billion in additional revenue to the state, Illinois’ unpaid bills have only risen to $9 billion, and now legislators want to make the “temporary” tax hike permanent.

Pension problems

The legislature, working with Governor Quinn, passed a spineless pension reform bill in December 2013, which may very well cause MORE problems in the long-term.  The legislation did some good things (limiting COLAs, raising the retirement age to 60, and requiring more funding of the pension funds), but it also allows union workers to contribute LESS to their own pension.  Chris Tobe, founder of Stable Value Consultants, said requiring less from workers will only perpetuate Illinois’ problem by lowering the amount of money being invested in the pension system.

“Solvency is based on cash flows primarily in 2014, 2015, and 2016 and this reform hurts cash flow in the critical years,” he wrote in an op-ed for Market Watch. “That means this reform could actually lower credit ratings instead of raising them.”

Economic problems

When Pat Quinn was inaugurated as governor of Illinois, the unemployment rate was at 8.0%, lower than our neighboring states Indiana (8.9%) and Michigan (11.3%), and about even with Wisconsin (7.8%) and Minnesota (7.9%).  Today, Illinois’ unemployment rate ranks 49th among the states at 8.7%, with only Rhode Island ranking behind us.  Our population growth ranks 44th among the states at 0.40%, far below the national average of 2.87%.  In other words, we’re hemorrhaging people from our state, probably because of our high tax burden and overly-oppressive regulation.

Governor Quinn has no idea how to create new jobs in Illinois or stanch the flow of businesses leaving Illinois.

Is it any wonder that even Democrats are saying Quinn will have a hard time holding on to his office in November?