Class Act Bill Daley Drops Out of Race

Class Act Bill Daley Drops Out of Race
Southwest News-Herald Newspaper Friday, September 20, 2013

I’m sure that many are thrilled that Bill Daley, the former U.S. Commerce Secretary and brother of long-time Mayor Richard M. Daley, dropped out of the race for governor.

He would have been a great governor, had he stayed in.

Daley explained that he wasn’t getting out of the race because he didn’t think he could win. He said he was getting out of the race because the State of Illinois is in such bad shape, it would be too daunting to fix it.

That’s a terrible indictment of the sad state of affairs of the State of Illinois. The state is a mess. Here are some statistics.

For example, since 2009, Illinois’ General Fund allocation for P-12 education has been cut by more than $861 million — or nearly 12 percent – even though public school enrollment levels have remained roughly constant at 2 million pupils.

Between FY12 and FY13, average per-pupil spending in Illinois was cut by 4.7 percent, the third largest cut among the 50 states, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

Here are some more statistics that I easily found online. It’s not that you have to do much digging at all to find them.

Illinois has one of the highest rates of Food Stamp recipients, more than 15 percent of the population. As of February 2013, 2,023,635 Illinois residents were enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), up 10 percent from last year.

Illinois has the most underfunded pensions in the country and faces a deficit growth of $17 million per day. The state also has the worst funded teachers pensions in the country.

Illinois has also been identified as one of the worst states in the union for its “oppressive, jobs-killing lawsuit climate.”

Illinois had more home foreclosures than almost every other state, data shows.

Illinois ranks as the 49th debtor state in the nation.

Illinois is also ranked by many surveys as being the 48th worst state for business.

Illinois ranked 48th for unemployment, making it among the worst five states for joblessness.

Its government also has one of the worst rankings for state transparency and accountability in the nation, too.

When you look at it all from that perspective, I think it does explain why Daley got out of the race.

But it only reminds everyone about how bad Illinois is. We should be better. But these problems have been going on for decades, not just because of the current terms of the incumbents in the Illinois Legislature.

Being in trouble is an Illinois tradition, just as the phrase “culture of corruption” has been appended to the state’s reputation. Let’s not even talk about all the state and local officials who have been sent to federal penitentiaries including several past Illinois governors.

All these problems end up costing Illinois taxpayers money. Our taxes go up. Our fees go up. Our services go down.

What do we do about it?

I’d love to hear your ideas and I will print the best in upcoming columns.

It may be unfair to put the burden on solving the state’s problems on your shoulders, but the fact is that our state needs help.

And if we don’t try to help, who will?

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist. You may reach him at and follow him on Twitter at

Categories: Chicagoland Topics

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