I talked to him for a long time and I think that he and I agree on many of the problems of doing economic development in Southern Illinois. There is a shocking lack of people who are college educated and between 30 and 50 years old. There is plenty of money for early stage companies, but much less if you need bigger money. There is a lack of talent/people for knowledge based jobs. He said as we parted, "I was really surprised that you didn't name the large number of levels of government as the number one problem." I smiled and said back, "The first thing I told you was the Illinois state government is total corrupt."
For our second SI story today, "Campaign donor Pleads Guilty in Kickback Case." Not to defend the current governor, but
Blagojevich issued a statement saying that the plea agreement "reveals a pattern of wrongdoing by Stuart Levine that betrayed the trust of Gov. (Jim) Edgar who first appointed him and to all of us here in Illinois."The guy who plead guilty has been around forever. He was finally invited to do the perp walk after getting crazy.
Prosecutors maintain that Levine, Blagojevich fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko and others schemed to get at least $20 million and perhaps as much a $50 million in assorted kickbacks.What concerns me after talking to Mr. Knott is he doesn't understand the scope of the corruption problem here in Illinois. If you are in Illinois politics at any level, it should be assumed you are dirty. At the end of the day, good businesses start, locate and thrive on a clean playing field. Not saying everyone is breaking the law and should go to jail, but if you scrub toilets you always need to wash your hands before eating.
I don't believe you can successfully do business development in Southern Illinois without cleaning up the numbers of layers of government (the most of any state) and throwing the dirty politicians in jail. If you said this cleanup isn't going to happen because the people don't have the will, I would have to agree with you. But, that means that better economic times aren't going to happen either.
As always, your comments are welcome.