Sunday, May 13, 2007

Illinois - pay to play state?

For two of the three hot issues (power rollback, no smoking, and more taxes) before our state government, look to be held up because our screwed up form of state government allows state officials to be paid off somewhat legally (if not ethically). When you add that only 5 people count in the state government, you have a really messed up, pay to play system.

The power rate rollback is being blocked by Emil Jones alone these days (any questions about why our form of government is screwed up?). Turns out that "Jones's stepson John Sterling has provided computer software services sine 2004 to Exelon, the parent company of ComEd," according to a little blurb in this week's "Carbondale Times" State Roundup section. The article goes on to say, "Jones insisted Thursday he knew nothing of the contract." Right, sounds great Emil.

The non-smoking bill passed through both state houses easily and is now in our "fine" governor's desk to be signed. Looks like the tobacco, bar and restaurant lobbies are putting a full court press on the Gov. to veto the bill at the last hour. Might be time for your "Smoke Free Carbondale" folks to start writing letters and giving the bill that last little push.

Haven't heard anything about the new business tax bill, except if it passes, no one in state government currently is getting any money from business, ever again. But that seems like a more honest reasoning then dirty politics, on that one.

I know this is the way things are always done is Illinois, but doesn't it strike you as wrong anyway?

6 comments:

Kyle Raccio said...

Time for Emil Jones to be replaced. Sorry, but he's not acting like a true progressive. Party affiliation is irrelevant when it comes to politicians being beholden to big business and special interest third parties.

As for the Gov., I voted for him to be re-elected and he did promise to stand with people--so, let's hope these folks don't lobby too well.

Peter in Carbondale said...

Kyle -

Your "progressive" made up word, is amusing to me. Kind of like Republicans who claim they are conservative, but they aren't, they are just Republicans. What the heck is a progressive? Something like a Southern Illinois liberal? Which means you are a state or non-profit employee, who thinks someone else should pay you more money then you currently get and build you a new building in the bargain?

Another amusement is the "progressives" who want Carbondale to have more "services," but the people who pay for the services are the business community. The business community, who is paying, thinks the "progressives" are idiots. Check out the big donors to the Woman's Center addition or the Boys and Girl's Club as an example of this. Maybe, what the "progressives" need is to have more successful business people in town, then there will be more people to pay for their dreams and they can just continue to complain without doing much of anything to fix the problems except spend the money that rich business people give them?

If you voted for this Governor in the last election, you are truly clueless. But I guess he is proving that to you now. You are young enough, so you didn't vote for him before maybe? You get one for free and after that you are a fool. Kind of like voting twice for "W". Of course, if the people running against them weren't just as bad, it would be easier to make this case. :)

Send me email when you get out of college and work for a few years. It will be interesting to see what you choose to do with your life. I admire your enthusiasm (I have it too), but you have so much to learn. Hopefully the people you are hanging around with, will not disappoint you too much.

It is a crushing fall when the enthusiastic and naive learn what Illinois politics is about. Have your finger over the "shields on high button." It will hurt anyway, but maybe you can prepare just a little before it happens.

Milton said...

Kyle,

I would add that you're constantly apologizing before you give your opinion on this blog. What's up with that?

My guess is that being PC has become so paramount for you that when offering up your opinion you pre-apologize for the simply disagreeing with someone.

Be proud of your opinions and change them when they are wrong. As long as your intentions are honorable, you should't have to worry about offending someone. ***They are just words.*** If the other party can't handle them then they can't handle life.

As much as one may try to avoid it, there's nothing wrong with (most) conflict, it toughens you up.

Kyle Raccio said...

Peter,

A progressive (by my definition, I don't go by textbook), yes, is someone who is generally liberal. But also someone who simply looks to the future--for progress, and is not afraid to say what they believe. But first and foremost, they are beholden to the people, not the special interests and not big business and the corporations.

Sheila would be a prime example of a progressive in my book, limiting her campaign contributions to $50 a piece. Now, believe me, I would have contributed a lot more than my $50 had she allowed it. She not only had progressive ideas but she put them into action. Even you can admit that that was courageous of her to limit contributions considering Brad's donations from right-wing sources.

Most politicians, unfortunately, are beholden to who gives them the most money because all office holding is to them is just that, a day at the office.

I know that this is a business blog and when I talk about big business, I am not bashing legitimate businesses, I am criticizing big business such as the tobacco industry who tries to profit out of destroying the public health, the alcohol industry which targets the young, and the fast food industry which profits off of clogged arteries. It's selfish, plain and simple. Not to mention companies like Wal-Mart who don't pay their employees very much.

Many people talk about liberals needing to be more "business-friendly." I think it needs to be reversed to "friendly business" before we can start talking about that. They get what they give. The big business would be nothing without the workers at the bottom, and they know it. But, yet, in most situations, the worker is underrepresented by the big important executive. Of course some businesses treat their employees well and value them; small businesses are the fuel of our economy.

Anyway, the point of progressivism is to not only have a liberal take on things, but to put the power of the little guy over the bigguns. Because, it's just a fact that if all the little guys went on strike, the bigguns would not be able to run their business.

Now, as for my vote for the Governor, I believed I made the right choice at the time and I stick by that today. Rod had a lot of accomplishments like expanding health care and raising the minimum wage.

I worked a sales job in the months leading up to the November election at minimum wage and found myself constantly whining about how little I was paid. But then I got to think, what if I had a family to raise? Some people do. It is unacceptable! I'm happy that Gov. Blagojevich wants to continue raising the minimum wage for that reason.

When the minimum wage is raised, the middle class spends, spends, spends. It strengthens the state economy. Therefore, it's a 'trickle up' and the businesses will get more profit. The theory that businesses are going to suffer because they have to pay their workers the tiniest possible increase is ludicrous. Reaganomics don't work.

Judy Baar Topinka would have made an absolutely terrible Governor. She basically gave a "heckuva job" to Bush and George Ryan, that alone would turn me away. Aside from disagreeing with her on virtually every issue, she was totally clueless. Not to mention she opposed letting me have a wage where I don't have to scrimp and save.

As for Rich Whitney, I like him a lot and have spoken with him before. But there's no need to throw out a Governor who's only made a few slip ups and has done far more good than harm.

Kyle Raccio said...

Milton,

I think you misunderstood me. I guess it's just a habit to say "Sorry" when I'm talking! Like "Sorry, Charlie" it's just a quote--believe me, I make no bones about my views and do not apologize for them.

Peter in Carbondale said...

Kyle -

That was very well thought out, but I have to disagree with many of your points.

I'm with you on Tobacco, Booze and Fat peddlers. The people who work at Walmart we will get into later. I have written here before that all the union people shop at Walmart, they don't care.

This idea that a government can be pro-small business and anti-big business isn't very easy. What happens is that the big businesses have the money and other resources to just ignore the hurdles a city throws up and the small businesses go elsewhere because an unfriendly city hall is difficult for most people to deal with. This is certain the case in Carbondale in the Neil Dillard era. You will notice a movement of locally owned business in town right now, because the city government is more helpful.

Your friendly business BS is just drawing on your imagination and ignorance. Certainly, the job market is bad for unskilled labor in Carbondale. We know why, there are way more people who want jobs, than jobs. When you quit your job, your parents just gave you more money and a dozen people were right there waiting for that opportunity. Only if there are more jobs then people to fill them do wages go up.

If the higher minimum wage comes in, it will drive a round of inflation to pay for it. The poor don't get richer because of tricks, over the long term.

I'm surprised you didn't talk about health care, that is a more valid correction. Needs to be at the nation level though.

Everyone who is elected is beholden to someone. Brad may well be beholden to the people who gave him money (at least, he has to take their calls). Sheila would have been beholden to the Democratic Party and the volunteers who did so much free work for her. If we go look at other prosperous rural cities (you have done your homework haven't you? Guess not.), it is better for the city to have a pro-business mayor.

I agree that our choices for Governor in the last election were terrible, but wouldn't it be better to vote for no one then a loser like our current governor? How many days until he is indited for the laws he broke giving favors out to Democratic Party insiders? Guess he can have Ryan's cell when he is done with it.