Politics and Policy in the Prairie State
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: University of Illinois Press
Title Page, Copyright
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The purpose of this small book is to contribute to a rebuilding of public confidence and trust in Illinois governments, in particular, its state government. The book is an overview of Illinois and its government by two fellows who have each participated in and observed Illinois policymaking for more than four decades. Our book takes a look back, discusses the present...
Introduction. The Future of Illinois
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When we were boys growing up in small-town Illinois in the 1950s, life was good, and getting better. Crops on the farms around us were growing in size each year, and we saw trucks go through town loaded with hogs or cattle, headed for the sprawling Chicago Stock Yards, then to be cut into bacon and steaks at the great meat packers in the city...
Chapter 1. The Changing Faces of Illinois
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The late North Carolina governor Terry Sanford once lamented that there is no one in the governor’s office whose only job is to gaze out the window and brood about the problems of the future.1 So it is in Illinois. Unfortunately, Illinois doesn’t know where it is going. There is no planning agency within...
Chapter 2. Fixing Past Budgeting Sins
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Persistent annual state budget deficits in the early twenty-first century and huge unfunded liabilities in our state pension systems have made Illinois a symbol of dereliction of fiscal responsibilities. That is why we make budgeting the first substantive chapter of this book. This chapter provides an overview of our fiscal system, discusses the major causes of the deficits the state has...
Chapter 3. Upgrading Education
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Education is arguably the most important function of state and local governments. The schools and universities provide the foundation on which the success or failure of society rests. This chapter begins with an overview of the scope, organization, and recent performance of K–12 education in Illinois...
Chapter 4. Improving Human Services and Health Care
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Illinois provides direct social and healthcare services to more than 3.5 million of the state’s 12.8 million residents, more than one in four. Specific numbers are unavailable because the state’s four major human service and healthcare agencies, and major divisions within agencies as well...
Chapter 5. Economic Development for Stability
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The Illinois economy is struggling. The state’s finances are a shambles of debt and unfunded obligations. In April 2013 the state’s unemployment rate was 9.3 percent, worst among all the states except Nevada.1 From the employment peak of November 2000, Illinois lost 655,700 jobs and had regained only 192,000 of those jobs by March 2013.2 The state’s image has been...
Chapter 6. Transportation: Maintaining Our Greatest Strength
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Over the course of writing this book, we asked close observers of Illinois about the state’s greatest strengths, and our transportation infrastructure was most frequently at the top of the list. Though Illinois has long enjoyed a competitive edge due to its mature and diverse transportation system, that edge cannot be taken for granted as other U.S. hubs and other countries...
Chapter 7. Reengineering Our Governments
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As noted in chapter 2, even if Illinois maintains the income tax increases of 2011, the state is still projected to run a deficit of about $2 billion per year, according to the respected Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois. Simply to reduce spending on what we do at...
Chapter 8. Corruption in Illinois: An Enduring Tradition
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Corruption has been an enduring habit in Illinois and Chicago governments
throughout the state’s history. And habits are hard to break.
In this chapter we discuss the realities and perceptions of this corruption and the costs the perceptions impose on Illinois.1 We also offer observations about and options for transforming the culture of corruption that we believe...
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About the Authors, Back Cover
Page Count: 200
Publication Year: 2014