Archive for February, 2012

“Our Rendezvous with Reality Has Arrived.” Welcome to the Party, Governor

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Courtesy of The Illinois Chamber of Commerce’s Government Affairs Report
Friday, February 24, 2012

The Governor finally seemed to come to grips and recognize the two elephants in the room that keep putting the state further into debt: Medicaid and pensions. We’ve all been well aware for some time now that Medicaid and the pension systems are crippling the state’s budget and it’s about time the governor started acknowledging that and with the above quote in his speech it seems he finally has. In his budget address on Wednesday, the Governor called for trimming Medicaid spending by $2.7 billion, restructuring the state’s pension systems, increasing education funding and closing/consolidating 67 state facilities. Noticeably absent was that there was no mention of how to restructure the pension systems. House Republican Leader Tom Cross mentioned in his reaction to the speech that everybody knows about the issues; it’s time to do more than just talk about it.

Even with the Governor’s cuts, his budget proposals will only pay down less than 2% of the backlog of bills; only $162 million. Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka’s number for the state’s unpaid bills is around $8.5 billion. At the rate of paying off less than 2% every year; it would take around 50 years to pay it all off. That does not account for the 12% yearly interest rate.

To read the full post, visit the Illinois Chamber’s site here.

Illinois Ranked Third in Corruption

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

The Chicago Tribune — and several other media outlets — are reporting on the recent review and report on corruption in elected government. While Chicago tops the nation in cities, Illinois ranks third (behind California and New York) in most public corruption convictions.

The Tribune reports:

The Chicago area logged the most public corruption convictions of any federal jurisdiction in the United States during the past 36 years, according to a report released Wednesday by the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Prosecutors secured 1,531 public corruption convictions in the Northern District of Illinois since 1976, said Dick Simpson, head of the university’s political science department.

Meanwhile, Illinois logged 1,828 public corruption convictions, the third most of any state during that time period, according to the report. Only California and New York had more.

But those states are much larger than Illinois. On a per-person basis, only the District of Columbia and Louisiana had more convictions than Illinois, according to the report. The study was limited to corruption uncovered by federal authorities.

Chicagoans are familiar with the high-profile corruption convictions of former Govs. Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, and George Ryan, a Republican. Additionally, two congressmen, a state treasurer, an attorney general, 11 state legislators, numerous judges and dozens of aldermen have been convicted since the 1970s, according to the report, dubbed “Chicago and Illinois, Leading the Pack in Corruption”.

What do you think?