Downsizing Illinois Government

The Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. has a website “Downsizing Government,” billed as “A department-by-department guide to cutting the federal government’s budget.” For supporters of limited government, it’s obviously a fun website to visit.

They’ve got a list of spending reforms for several cabinet agencies: Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Education, and Housing and Urban Development. Coming soon they promise the same for Defense, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs.

The first paragraph on the “About” page can easily be reworded to fit our state-level problems:

Illinois government is running massive budget deficits, spending too much, and heading toward a financial crisis. Without a change of direction, average working families will be faced with huge tax increases and a lower standard of living.

To my knowledge, the website called “Downsizing Illinois Government” doesn’t exist. Some of us would settle for a site called “How to Reform Illinois Government.” Maybe Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady will start a section on his campaign website.

The Illinois Report Card prepared by the Illinois Senate Republican Caucus – includes this:

The Path Forward

Illinois’ financial situation is so serious, that the only responsible course is a major restructuring of state government.

There is no shortage of ideas on how to accomplish that. Respected nonpartisan organizations have come before legislators and legislative committees and laid out plans that would help restore financial solvency.

An outline of what the solution must look like has emerged:

  • Bring Medicaid and pension costs under control;
  • Reform the educational system to encourage competition and put students first;
  • Make the state more attractive for small business;
  • Bring state and local government costs under control; and
  • Invest in core infrastructure that will create and attract jobs.

Illinois does not have an idea deficit; it has a deficit of leadership.”

Well said and I couldn’t agree more. In fact, now is the time for Illinois voters to begin hearing a concrete set of proposals from those on the GOP side of the ballot. In other words – take those bullet points listed above and explain HOW we can get those things accomplished. After all, it’s a lot easier to diagnose than to prescribe.

There’s plenty of time for such a plan to be heard and gain acceptance. Let the fun begin.

©2010 John Francis Biver