Sunday, May 30, 2010


    The Actual State of Abe's State
    Andy Shaw
    Executive Director, Better Government Association
  • Illinois is a legendary state in so many ways - from its architecture to its food; from its famed blues music to its political scene. One of the states more infamous residents happens to be the ex-Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, who also holds the title of being the first governor in Illinois history to be impeached. Sadly, he is also the fourth Illinois governor since 1970 to be indicted on federal charges.
  • While innocent until proven guilty needs to remain forefront, Illinois is just one example of government gone amok and it is the citizens of the state who are left paying for the corruption every day through a "corruption tax" - a fee paid by taxpayers when government is run for the benefit of the politicians and insiders, not for the public. The corruption tax in Illinois is a staggering 15%. That is money that could have been otherwise appropriated to services such as public aid, public health, museums and parks and even new roads and bridges.
  • Though Illinois may be an extreme example of a corruption tax, it is not unique. Sadly, many of our cities, counties and states are run by a select few people who are simply taking advantage of taxpayer money. The truth of the matter remains that we allow it to happen. Every day. For a culture of corruption to survive, you need enablers and minions who just go along with it and do nothing about it.
  • More people need to say "enough is enough" by blowing the whistle or getting involved with watchdog, anti-corruption organizations such as the Better Government Association, committed to identifying and ultimately reporting on taxpayer waste. Time and time again, we vote for a candidate we know nothing about - but liked their picture on a campaign ad, or the promises they made on a television commercial. Or maybe we didn't even vote at all because we just don't think it matters. Each one of us needs to take responsibility for the corruption occurring before our eyes. We are paying a tax for it daily. We need to vote responsibly and report what we know is wrong. Only then will we ever have a chance at restoring faith in government at all levels.
That's great. We pay corruption taxes while they refuse to fund our pensions. If the corruption tax in the state is fifteen percent imagine how much it is in Chicago. Twenty five percent? Thirty percent? Mr. Shaw suggests voting the politicians out of office but there are no good alternatives. The other candidates are as bad or worse. I don't blame people for not voting. Why can't we get good viable candidates to run for office in Illinois? It's discouraging.

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