The one-party political monopoly here in Illinois must change. The status quo cannot remain. How many times can Illinoisans be snookered into believing that by awarding Democrats with their votes, who now have super majorities in both houses of the General Assembly, that things will be different this time around? As the idiom goes, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” This means that we should learn from our mistakes and not allow people to take advantage of us repeatedly.
As Illinoisans go about their daily work and responsibilities with little time left over to delve into the real facts about their state, it is understandable why many Illinoisans know little about what is really happening in and to their state. What they know mostly comes from sound bites that represent a sanitized version of “what really is” by major news and TV networks and the print media.
Now that election time is here, our ears are being assaulted with campaign commercials that are mostly fashioned to take the other guy down. It is coming to a point where Illinoisans are proclaiming “enough is enough,” with many not knowing what to believe. Just what is the truth about Illinois? Is it really all honky dory as Governor Quinn would have us believe?
Here are facts about IL that were not manufactured to spin the truth, but which represent solid research by reputable organizations and government agencies. Illinois is in crisis!:
- Illinois is dead last of all 50 states in recovering from the Great Recession. It ranks last in the U.S. in putting people back to work (since 2008 there are 290,000 fewer people employed in Illinois) and Illinois is still down 170,000 payroll jobs since the recession began in 2008.
- Illinois work force suffered the largest monthly workforce loss in recorded state history in June of this year. June’s workforce loss was worse than the worst month of the Great Recession. Overall, 21,700 Illinoisans gave up and left the workforce in June; in September 2008, 17,500 Illinoisans quit the workforce. For the first six months of 2014, Illinois was dead last of all 50 states in private sector job creation, down by -18.1%.
- For the U.S. as a whole, the number of jobs lost during the recession has been regained (Not counted are the people who are looking for work or who have dropped out of the workforce!). The U.S. has 1 million more jobs today than in January 2008, the pre-recession peak, while Illinois is still down 157,000 jobs from pre-recession levels, with the biggest jobs gap in the entire country.
- Food Stamp Growth has outpaced new jobs in Illinois by nearly 2-to-1 in the past four years, yet Gov. Pat Quinn argues that Illinois has turned the fiscal corner and is on its way back, somewhat slowly, but that the recovery is real.
- Sky-high property taxes make home ownership a pipe dream and the job market is terrible. Reports tell of more companies leaving IL than moving in. One in 4 says Illinois is the worst possible place to live in the entire U.S. From 1995 to 2010, Illinois lost more than 850,000 people to other states. That’s after you offset the number of people who actually move in. The bleeding is bad; on net, 1 person leaves Illinois every 10 minutes.
- Youth and minority workers have been hurt most by the state’s ongoing policy errors. One policy mistake was the historic 2011 tax hikes, which dramatically slowed down job creation. Another mistake is having the highest minimum wage in the Midwest, a policy that has been proven to hurt employment among youths and minorities. Fewer than half of all adult black men can find work in Illinois, making IL the worst state in the Midwest. Illinois also has the worst employment rate in the Midwest for teenage workers age 16-19 and for Midwest workers 20-24.
- The result of Illinois’ anti-business environment and tax-hiking ways is a recovery that is estimated to drag on for seven more years – and that’s just to get back to the number of Illinoisans who were working in January 2008. Meanwhile, Illinois’ working-age population will have grown by more than 700,000. The Great Recession knocked 500,000 Illinoisans out of work from January 2008 to November 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ household survey. Since then, only 200,000 Illinoisans have gone back to work.
Below are four candidates running for office in northern Illinois who want to shake up Springfield. Honest and trustworthy, they recognize the pathetic condition of this state and, among other things, want to balance Illinois’ checkbook by restoring checks and balances in state government.
Don Wilson – Challenging Democrat in Democrat State Senator Terry Link, District 30.
Greg Bedell – Challenging Democrat Rep. John D’Amico, District 15.
Dr. Mark Neerhof – Challenging Democrat Rep. Scott Drury, District 58.
Leslie Monger – Challenging Democrat Rep. Carol Sente, District 59.
Let’s return Illinois to its once grandeur as the “Land of Lincoln” and to a state we can all be proud of to call home. Republicans do have the unique ability to turn what should be a victory into defeat. I can understand why conservative Republicans, of which I am one, want the whole apple and find it reprehensible to choose between the lesser of two evils, believing that next time around a more acceptable candidate will be on the ballot. Does the political history of Illinois support this line of thought? Think before you vote to keep the status quo! Can Illinois survive more years under the leadership of the status quo?