You may have heard-- Governor Rod Blagojevich's giant "gross receipts" tax hike on Illinois businesses lost when it came up for a vote in the Statehouse.

107 to zilch.

Amazing. But sadly, it's not a cause to celebrate here in the Metro-East, where business-friendly Missouri beckons from just across the river. The headline-grabbing Rout ' o' Rod was a publicity stunt borne of intra-party squabbling.

The Democrats in Springfield haven't suddenly abandoned their plans to raise our taxes. It's just that among them, they cannot agree on how to do it.

The Governor wanted desperately to sock it to businesses ("fat cats," he dubbed the state's private executive ranks), calling for what would have been the largest tax hike in state history. House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President Emil Jones, the other two Chicago Machine Democrats we've entrusted with running this state, would rather raise income or sales taxes.

However they get there, all three have the same goal in mind: making the state public sector as large and far-reaching as is politically possible.

Call it antithetical to everything we know about fostering economic growth-- it was more than a decade ago that left-leaning President Bill Clinton even conceded, "the era of big government is over." But it's clear these men aren't exactly focused on Illinois' long-term.

Blagojevich wants to socialize Illinois' health care system because he figures it will help him win left-wingers over in the 2012 Democratic presidential primary. Speaker Madigan and Sen. Jones are primarily concerned with issues of the home, the former with making his daughter Blagojevich's successor, the latter with ensuring a fat-and-happy retirement for himself and his extended family.

Alas, rather than work to attract the jobs of tomorrow, they're content to push policies benefitting their friends of today.

In addition to those directly related by marriage or birth, that includes the state public employee unions (they love tax hikes) and the deep-pocketed plaintiff's bar. The Blagojevich-Madigan-Jones Triumvirate is pushing hard this year to pass laws that improve Illinois' climate for lawsuits.

All-in-all, it's a surefire strategy to turn our state into a flatter version of West Virginia.

Which is, of course, what we all wished for last November. Isn't it?

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