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Newsweek: Illinois is Officially the Worst Governed State

Posted on the 17 February 2013 by Real Talk @talkrealdebate2012

Chicago SkylineDavid Frum, Newsweek political contributor, recently wrote that the state of Illinois is officially the worst governed state.  As someone who lives in the state I already knew this to be true.

Last week, Standard & Poor’s downgraded Illinois’s credit rating to A-. Only California bears so low a rating, but S&P rates California’s future outlook as positive and Illinois’s as negative. The Moody’s (slightly different) rating system assesses Illinois at the same risk level it gives the African nation of Botswana.

The state started the fiscal year with $8 billion in unpaid bills.  This accounts for about a quarter of its budget.  Illinois is severely dependent on federal assistance.  In 2011, a third of the state revenue was accounted through federal transfers. Illinois also ranks first in the nation in unfunded pension liability.  It accounts for about 15% of state spending.  The number will only go up.  The state is cutting school budgets, Medicare and correction facilities to pay the shortfall.

As of December 2012, Illinois ranked fifth in the nation for unemployment.  The state has some of the highest taxes in the country.  The high taxes are only driving away businesses.  Frum writes: “A former high-office holder in the state once joked to me that the three most important jobs in Illinois are, first, mayor of Chicago; second, governor; and third, U.S. attorney: the person who decides which Illinois politicians to prosecute. “  (pretty accurate if you ask me)

The last two governors were convicted of federal crimes.  George Ryan is currently at a halfway house and Rod Blagojevich is at a Colorado prison, serving his 14 year sentence.  Illinois is certainly an oddball state.  In the past election, voters retained a Congressman who had been in rehab since June, a judge who was pleading insanity and a Congressman who was under federal investigation for bribery.    Jessie Jackson Jr. has resigned and is on his way to jail.  As is his wife, a former Alderwoman.  And if that’s not enough weirdness for you then I shall remind you that a convicted sex offender is running for Jackson’s congressional seat.

As I have argued before, voters share some of the responsibility.  By reelecting these criminals we are only reinforcing that we really don’t care what they do.  For the record I didn’t vote for any of these crooks.

Illinois is certainly a leader in this great nation.

Just not in the categories you want it to be. 

Sometimes I’ve heard people say that they are so sick of this country they will move to Africa.  Well you know what?  It might actually be a better choice than living in Illinois. 

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Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate

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