Sunday, May 29, 2005

Lousy deal on CTA struck

Democrats in Springfield struck a deal to plug the CTA's budget gap for one year. But the deal does nothing to make fundamental changes in how the CTA is funded and operated to prevent future shortfalls. It doesn't sound like the CTA will get what it wanted, which was a change in the "outdated" funding formula, which would have provided at least some long-term stability. And no, it won't get what it really needs, which is to be completely weaned off funding from the unreliable state legislature. Instead, it got another band-aid to help it survive at its current capacity for at least another year. To pay for the CTA budget deficit, legislators will likely raid the pensions of state workers and teachers. This solution while not doing any long-term good for the CTA will do significant damage to the state's financial picture as it struggles to pay back those redirected pension funds. Since this CTA-funding issue will come up again in less than a year, it seems Democrats have ensured that this will become a sticky election issue in 2006. But oh well -- that's what they deserve for not fixing the problem.

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