April 10, 2008: An Update from the Institute
Pork-Barrel Spending Exposed
How much wasteful spending goes on each year in Illinois? Yesterday, the Illinois Policy Institute released its 2008 Piglet Book, which details more than $686 million in wasteful spending alone. Highlights (or, rather, lowlights) include:
· $4 million for a Ford Technical Training Center in Chicago
· $1 million for the Illinois film office in Chicago
· $920,000 for the Chicago Aerospace Education Initiative
· $550,000 for the conservation of pheasants
· $500,000 to administer the tanning facility permit act
· $156,000 to Southern Illinois University to refurnish cabins at
the "Touch of Nature Environmental Center" at Southern
Illinois University - Carbondale
· $40,000 for the Springfield Figure Skating Club
· $35,000 for the Prairie Aviation Museum for a display gallery
There's a lot more where that came from, including protections for "fur-bearing mammals" and funds for Ukranian Easter Eggs. The piglet book was widely featured in Illinois media, including Jerry Agar's Chicago radio talk show, FOX television, WBBM radio, and the State Journal-Register.
To read the full report, click here.
An Illinois Tear-Down?
By John Tillman, Chairman and CEO
One of the more interesting trends in real estate over the past ten years has been the rise of the "tear-down"--where you tear down your existing house to build a bigger and better house in its place. The trend was going like gangbusters over the past several years, but today, with the housing market slowdown, you don't see as many tear-downs as you used to.
We have several friends who took the plunge and tore down their tear-downs, and the resulting new houses are beautiful. I once wondered, however, if they ever got nostalgic for the old house. Turns out that they don't, and for good reason.
Of course, we all may love things about our old houses. They're cozy and comfortable . . . well, except when the roof leaks and the basement has constant seepage. But, heck, it's what we're used to! The rooms are familiar, and the clutter--er, the furnishings--have their special charms and memories attached. And who doesn't love those unique touches, like, say, teal colored bathroom fixtures? I personally think they are coming back soon. Of course, my family had to spend more money on the plumber because the old, charming, teal faucets wouldn't shut off and the water dripped, dripped, and dripped. . .which leads me to those water bills.
Okay, so maybe some old houses aren't the best-functioning places in the world.
This all reminds me of politics in Illinois. The way we do things in this state is old, familiar, and comfy--well, for some, at least. Jim Thompson, our former governor, recently floated the idea that the state should buy Wrigley Field, and there was nary a protest. . . except from some quarters. The current buzz in Springfield is about raising the income tax--a brilliant move to drive even more people out of the state--and meanwhile, the GOP sits silent with one legislator commenting that "we'll take a look at it." Hey, that faucet is about to burst, people!
Clearly, what we need in Illinois is a political tear-down. First, we need to tear down the old way of doing things. The old way of pork, patronage and privilege must go the way of the wrecking ball. In its place, we must build a reform-minded, liberty-based way of doing business in Illinois. We must bulldoze the government-centric paradigm and build one that's liberty-centric--one that works.
And the most exciting thing for me (and I hope you) is that the time has never been better to start this tear-down project. The first step is recognizing that it's time to do so. Next time, I'll tell you why I'm so optimistic that not only can we tear down this old house of cronyism and corruption, but that we can, in fact, rebuild that house on a foundation of reform and liberty.
Questions? Comments? Want to get involved? Please contact John Tillman at email@example.com.