Tonight is the deadline for Illinois lawmakers to pass a budget this session. If they fail to do so, the state will continue it’s nearly two-year impasse, which has slashed social programs and destabilized communities.
This episode of Stranded by the State looks at the role big banks have played in accelerating budget crises across the country. The same banks that were responsible for the foreclosure crisis in 2008 are now making huge sums of money from predatory loans made to state and city governments.
These “toxic swaps” contribute to widespread austerity policies, such as cuts to the CeaseFire violence prevention program in Chicago. The episode also points toward alternative solutions to the crisis in Illinois: recovering money from the banks and enacting a progressive income tax.
Illinois has not passed a real budget in nearly two years, the first state to go that long without a budget since the Great Depression. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has refused to sign off on any budget that doesn’t also curtail collective bargaining rights, leading to a showdown with the state’s Democrats.
Stranded by the State—an 8‑part video series produced in partnership with Kartemquin Films — follows the families, workers and students living through these de facto budget cuts, showing the ways they deteriorate the fabric of Illinois communities. The series incorporates data connecting the situation in Illinois to long-term trends of austerity nationwide, including the staggering cuts proposed in President Donald Trump’s first budget.