Illinois has a long history of corruption at the governor level. Shoe boxes of cash in a dead governor’s closet. Governors going to prison. Governors who should have gone to prison and didn’t. The “for sale” sign has been on the door of the office for a century, if not longer.
Illinois has a new governor, a billionaire, with no need to take in envelopes of cash. Here is an excerpt from his inaugural address. Speeches are easy to make as our current president, Mr. Blah, blah, blah has demonstrated. He has made thousands of hours of speeches and said nothing. The only quote in all of that garbage will be: “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”, a blatant lie. After all, this president came from Illinois with empty pockets and with a third hand growing out of his back, like a sleazy maître de. There is faint hope for Illinois. Weighted down by a state legislature heavy in corruption led by a man who has been running the state for a quarter of a century, Michael Madigan. Madigan will fight the new governor, Bruce Rauner, every step of the way. He and his cronies have no interest in the next generation. Except, in Madigan’s case, to get his daughter elected to replace Rauner in the next election. See, she’s the attorney general of Illinois, Lisa Madigan. Lisa can keep the family business running for another 25 years. If Illinois lasts that long.
Mr. Rauner’s words:
Our government has spent more than we could afford; borrowed money and called it revenue. Rather than responsibly budgeting the money we had, we implemented programs we couldn’t afford. In the face of a declining economy, we raised taxes. This hurt our economy even more, put more stress on our social safety net, and pushed more Illinoisans out of our state, leaving fewer taxpayers to support the government. As a result, today Illinois is not as competitive as we need to be and cannot be as compassionate as we want to be.
Some in government will be tempted to once again take the easy road and leave the real problems for another day and the next generation.
But, we can not do that because to do so, to conduct business as usual, would be morally corrupt.
Instead, we have an opportunity to accomplish something historic: to fix years of busted budgets and broken government; to forge a path toward long-term prosperity and a brighter future; to make Illinois the kind of state others aspire to become, a national leader in job growth and education quality.
To achieve that will require sacrifice.
Sacrifice by all of us – politicians and interests groups, business and labor, those who pay for government and those who depend on government’s services. Each person here today and all those throughout the state will be called upon to share in the sacrifice so that one day we can again share in Illinois’s prosperity. We all must shake up our old ways of thinking.
I promise to you this administration will make our decisions based on the next generation; not the next election.
I pledge to work on a bipartisan basis to drive results and get things done.
We must be united by our willingness to sacrifice and do what is right even if it is difficult.
We must accept the challenge and the sacrifice, knowing that it will lead us to something greater.
We must forget the days of feeling good about just making it through another year – by patching over major problems with stitches that are bound to break.
Those stitches are now busting wide open and we must begin by taking immediate, decisive action.
That’s why today, my first action as governor will be to direct every state agency to freeze non-essential spending.
I’ll ask them to review and report on every contract that’s been signed since November 1.
And I will follow through on my pledge to reduce my own salary to $1 and decline all benefits.
Our state’s crisis is not only financial. We have a MORAL crisis, an ETHICAL crisis as well. We have a state government that too few have faith in; that lack of faith is JUSTIFIED, and undermines people’s willingness to sacrifice and help the government in its mission.
Illinoisans see insider deals and cronyism rewarded.
They see lobbyists writing bills for special interests and taxpayers being left with the tab.
They see government union bosses negotiating sweetheart deals across the table from governors they’ve spent tens of millions to help elect.
It’s a corrupt bargain and the people of Illinois are left to wonder where they fit in. Who’s looking out for them and their families?
Taxpayers’ money belongs to them; not the government. We have a moral obligation to minimize how much we take and to ensure what we do take is spent efficiently and effectively
Every dollar we spend unnecessarily inside government is a dollar we can’t put into classrooms or social service providers, or leave in the pockets of entrepreneurs and homeowners.
To the people of Illinois, and the people outside our state who have been reluctant to invest in Illinois because of the insider deals and cronyism, I say this:
I’m nobody that nobody sent.
And I’ve come to work for you.
I will send a clear signal to everyone in our state, and to those watching from outside our borders, that business as usual is over. It stops now.
Tomorrow, I will sign an executive order that will improve ethics and accountability in the executive branch of state government. These actions and others to follow will focus on regaining our state’s good name and reputation. We must prove every day that we have learned our lessons and are changing our ways.
In everything we do, we must ask ourselves, what does this mean for the next generation?
For in order to thrive, we must prepare the next generation for success. From cradle to career, the people of Illinois deserve world-class educational opportunities.
From early childhood and K through 12 schools, to vocational and technical training, to community colleges and higher ed, we need to invest adequately in every neighborhood. Next to being a mother or a father, teaching is the most important job in the world, and we must support our many good teachers. That means putting more directly into the classrooms, reforming the education bureaucracy, rolling back costly mandates and giving more students access to great schools.
A high-quality education is essential for higher lifetime earnings, a competitive, world-class workforce and strong economic growth.
It is the key to bringing back the American dream for every family in Illinois; for making the American dream a REALITY for everyone here; a truly better life for the next generation.
If we work together, Illinois can be great again.