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It’s not the cost of roads or state parks that have Illinois lawmakers looking at a $9 billion deficit this year.

Laurence Msall, head of the government watchdog group the Civic Federation, says since the 1990’s Illinois didn’t pay the true costs of government. Now the bills for pensions and employee health care have come due. And Illinois cannot afford them.

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Msall says Illinois is not going to find a quick or easy fix to plugging the now $9 billion budget deficit facing lawmakers.

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A new report from the University of Illinois’ Institute for Government and Public Affairs says Illinois’ deficit, thanks to pension costs, is $9 billion this year. That’s twice what lawmakers were expecting.

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