Illinois' financial sins--in exquisite detail

Jim Nowlan is an experienced hand at state government, having served in it and having observed it as a scholar. His commentary here is one of the best, clearly stated summaries of Illinois' financial problems. It pessimistic about how the state can extract itself from this mess, but if nothing else, he's realistic. 

Read it and weep. 


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  • He doesn't seem to say much. At least Preckwinkle makes the pretense that everyone has to cut 22%.

    He seems to take the state off the hook, by saying no one wants school cuts. However, he doesn't indicate whether we are getting any "bang for the buck" for what we are now shoveling into the schools. For instance, it is reported that Chicago spends about $11,000 per student, but, except in a few magnet schools, the students aren't learning anything.

    If you want a look at how money is spent in Illinois, and especially at the CTA, take a look at today's Tribune, which suddenly mentions that Rahm wants $300 million to rebuild the Dan Ryan portion of the Red Line, but does not mention that it was rebuilt around 2005. Add to that $110 million paid for defective buses that were taken off the street after 4-6 years. Yet, all of this is uncritically accepted as "we need more funding." According to the CTA budget, all the public funding (i.e. taxes) is going toward the pension bonds.

    Of course, while he includes stuff like property taxes into the calculus, no mention is made of, for instance, the hundreds of school districts in just suburban Cook County, overlapping transit boards that do nothing other than compete with each other, overlapping layers of county, township, and local government (at least Preckwinkle also mentioned that), and all other sinkholes into which Illinois tax money goes.

    Add in, of course, labor laws written by the unions, such as that any state worker, other than police, fire, and paramedics, can strike.

    I only weep because even the "reformers" totally lack vision and basically say to learn to live with New York levels of taxation. Not even New York nor California can raise sufficient taxes to spend themselves out of their malaises.

  • Does anyone know what the final Capital Cost of the thus completed part of the Block 37 CTA Airport Express Superstation was??

  • In reply to mikep621:

    This month, the Chicago Department of Transportation begins the South Lakefront Transit Corridor Study.

    The purpose of the study is to identify and evaluate transit alternatives for improving travel in a study area between State Street and Lake Michigan, extending south from the Central Area to 95th Street. The study will include three public meetings, as well as meetings of a Public Advisory Committee consisting ofelected officials and othercommunity representatives.

    This Study will potentially lead to full implementation of the CTA Gray Line Project, which will create 8 to 10,00 New PERMANENT Walk-to-in-the-Neighborhood Jobs in Chicago's South Side Minority Communities:

  • In reply to mikep621:

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