With Rod Blagojevich, at least he was the butt of the jokes about Illinois. (WJBC file photo)
By David Stanczak
Bring back Blago! You heard me, bring back Blago.
Yes, I know that he helped get the state in the mess it’s in now; yes, I know he’s a convicted felon; yes I know he was AWOL most of the time he was in office. But he was funny and could serve as the butt of the nation’s laughter at Illinois. We used to be able to say “we’re not dysfunctional; it’s our nutty governor-laugh at him.” Not any more.
If it were a nation, Illinois would be well on its way to becoming a third world country. Last Friday, Standard & Poor’s, the bond rating agency, downgraded the state’s credit rating to A- with a negative outlook, which makes us worse than California. Moody’s, another bond rating firm, ranks us 50th among the states and gives us an A2 rating, tying us with Botswana. The downgrading raises interest on state bonds, so it will cost more to borrow. Bad news, especially when the state is planning to issue $500 million in bonds in a few days. Our total unfunded debt is $275 billion. Our pension costs are increasing by $17 million a day.
Fear not! Gov. Quinn is hard at work. He said recently, “The sooner we get it accomplished, the better. This is a mission we cannot bail on. We must succeed. This is achievable and attainable and I’m going to work as hard as I can with everyone to make it happen.” That sounds encouraging. The only problem is, Quinn wasn’t talking about solving the debt problem; he was talking about the gay marriage bill. And that’s not the only other thing Quinn’s been working on. He worked with the General Assembly to pass a law giving illegal aliens-excuse me-undocumented immigrants-driver’s licenses. Of that effort, Quinn said, “This was a bipartisan effort to pass an important law. [t]he president…can say about his home state of Illinois…we not only passed the Dream Act last year, we passed driver’s licenses for those who are undocumented.”
With this attention to priorities, I’m so proud to live in Illinois, I could just spit.
David Stanczak, a Forum commentator since 1995, came to Bloomington in 1971. He served as the City of Bloomington’s first full-time legal counsel for over 18 years, before entering private practice. He is currently employed by the Snyder Companies and continues to reside in Bloomington with his family.
The opinions expressed within WJBC’s Forum are solely those of the Forum’s author, and are not necessarily those of WJBC or Cumulus Media Inc.