Illinois, particularly the Chicago area, is long known for harboring generations of the most corrupt and incompetent politicians. In my lifetime, there are no more than a handful of politicians in this state that I could point to and think “that person’s probably honest”.
Last night, as the Illinois General Assembly came to a close prior to swearing in its newly elected members (aka, the “lame duck” session), two major pieces of legislation squeaked through.
Illinois has abolished the death penalty. You may recall that currently imprisoned former governor George Ryan earned himself a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize when he commuted the death sentences of the entirety of death row a few years ago. Since then, a few people have found themselves on to death row. They may still face execution since they have not had their sentence commuted, and the new legislation is not ex post facto. That will be up to Governor Quinn to decide.
Illinois also just saw a 67% jump in the state income tax. The tax bill only lasts four years, and then must be renewed, however Illinois now has an income tax that is more comparable to other states who charge income tax. The new Joseph McCarthy wannabe-governor of Wisconsin immediately rolled out the welcome mat to any Illinois businesses who would like to relocate.
I don’t like the way Illinois squanders its money. I don’t like the political landscape of the state. We are at least 10-15 years past the point of being able to offer simple fixes for this. Both Republican and Democratic governors and controlled legislatures repeatedly increased spending and refused to raise taxes. Now, instead of small gradual raises, we are saddled with a mammoth jump. Now, instead of small cuts hear and there, a great deal is about to be cut (and frankly even more should be cut). However, the tax increase was most definitely needed.
Many would point out that the Democratic controlled General Assembly likely signed their collective death warrants. However given that the city of Chicago can be assured of continuing to exclusively elect democrats no matter who is running, and that one of the orders of business that this legislature will have to take care of is reapportionment, there is an even money chance that the Democrat dominated General Assembly and Congressional delegation is not as in danger as some would imagine.
New laws, new looks …. same old politics as usual.