Status quo unacceptable in Illinois
To the editor:
With the beginning of a new year and a primary election that is only weeks away, it is important that voters make good decisions in the Feb. 2 primary and Nov. 2 general election to stop the chronic abuse and neglect that has placed Illinois at a crossroads that could either result in a more people and business friendly environment or keep Illinois moving in a downward spiral.
How is that over the last seven years under single party rule in Illinois our elected officials have recklessly spent their way into an $11.9 billion deficit burdening future generations? Also of great concern is an unemployment level far in excess of 10 percent.
It cannot be disputed that spending in Illinois is out of control and riddled with waste, yet during 2009 legislators somehow managed to find plenty of taxpayers dollars for pork project -- $3.1 billion worth -- even as Governor Quinn warned of cutting back state services to the poor and sick. Taxes and spending must be reduced along with meaningful pension reform.
Might there by a way for ordinary citizens to acquire information about state spending in Illinois so they might respond and demand action from their elected officials?
The Illinois Policy Institute recently developed a comprehensive tool which allows citizens and the media to look at details of state spending through a user-friendly website. IllinoisOpenGov.org details state spending down to the agency, person, and penny. With this transparency tool, state spending -- including payroll and pension information for government employees -- is readily available to citizens and the media.
It is up to Illinoisans to make calendar year 2010 count. The Feb. 2 primary and Nov. 2nd general election will give voters the opportunity to repudiate those who promote sleaze, corruption, tax and spend policies, and sham reforms.
This is not the time to forgive and forget. Instead, 2010 is the time to sweep the state and county governments clean. If voters opt for the status quo on Feb. 2 and Nov. 2, they must accept the blame for the deplorable condition of their state.
Enough with effort! Illinois needs reform. Illinoisans deserve more and must demand better government through competent and honest legislators.
Nancy J. Thorner
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Illinois Policy Institute
190 S La salle St
Chicago, IL 60603