Do you ever get the feeling that nobody is minding the store when it comes to government here in Illinois?

Well, I wish I had better news for you but a couple of recent developments are not helping matters..

But, there is a silver lining...we have someone out there looking out for pocketbook even if the government isn’t.

Government is Now a Mystery to Itself

A recent report conducted by the Auditor General of Illinois found that the state government could not provide a comprehensive list of programs it runs. Let me repeat that…the state government spends our tax dollars, hires staff and runs programs on behalf of Illinois citizens but cannot list them.

Often times, these reports go unnoticed but thanks to the policy experts at the Illinois Policy Institute shined the spotlight on this report. John Tillman who serves as Chairman of the Institute appeared on the Greg and Dan Radio Show in Peoria talking about this report during their morning program. As John Tillman pointed out, the audit indicated that there are a minimum of 1,750 programs the state administers and that is on the conservative side. As a result, they are calling for a sunset commission to eliminate unnecessary and duplicative programs, which makes a lot of sense. How much of an impact are they making if nobody is making a list?

CTA Doomsday?

We all agree that the CTA is a vital element to moving around the City of Chicago. But, that doesn’t mean it can’t use a tune up.

Although there has been an enormous amount of media attention about the CTA doomsday scenario, there has not been a whole lot of talk about tightening the belt at the CTA or making sure we don’t face future budget problems. Instead, we look at the posters on trains in the morning that say we just need more money.

Once again, the Illinois Policy Institute is shining that spotlight on some problems that I think we all know exists but really nobody is talking about. A recent column by Dennis Byrne in the Chicago Tribune highlighted a series of common sense proposals that would right the economic ship at the CTA instead of asking taxpayers to write a blank check and hope for the best. In fact, these proposals will also help the CTA avoid further doomsday scenarios and actually operate more like a business than a bloated agency.

In the coming weeks, we might have a deal on the CTA. Hopefully, some of these proposals that actually solve short term and long term problems at the CTA can be included in the deal. If not, we can always go back to “Where’s Waldo” in our state government.

Ryan McLaughlin
VP/Group Director, Public Affairs

BlogZapwater Communications