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Oy, Part 64,389

Thursday, Feb 23, 2006 - Posted by Rich Miller

I didn’t write about this in today’s Capitol Fax because I figured everybody else would be all over it. They were.

The Blagojevich administration’s count of how many jobs it has created is filled with errors and loose definitions that inflate the total, state auditors reported Wednesday.

Auditor General William Holland said Gov. Blagojevich’s commerce department counts jobs it expects will be created through grant programs instead of tracking the number actually created.

Holland, who is appointed by the General Assembly, also criticized the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for shoddy administration and failure to follow mandates from the Legislature.

Further, Holland said the department changed its methods so that people undergoing training are counted as new jobs, even though the trainees are people who already have jobs, auditors said.

But, wait, there’s more.

*DCEO had “difficulty” proving that it created or saved most of the jobs it claimed. Holland said that “for eight of 10 jobs performance measures … documentation did not agree with the amount reported.”

*20 percent of DCEO’s job-creation performance measures “were poor measures that provided little insight into program effectiveness.”

*None of DCEO’s 11 bureaus have procedures for measuring their effectiveness for economic development.

*The department has no way of tracking mandates from the General Assembly or eliminating obsolete mandates. “We identified some unfulfilled mandates,” the report stated.

*DCEO Commissioner Jack Lavin came in for direct criticism. By statute, he is chairman of the Coal Development Board, but he has not taken up his duties or provided leadership on the board’s expenditures.

More here and here.


  1. - scoot - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 8:05 am:

    Why should I be surprised that this administration hasn’t been honest about these numbers….they lie about everything else…and it’s a campaign year. They are full of it…please add on another federal investigation (I’m losing count)

  2. - check - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 8:13 am:

    What everybody has to remember is that when the governor talks about the 64,000 new jobs created in 2005, which is our best one year gain in 5 years and better than more 40 other states, including all of our Midwest neighbors, that these numbers come from the federal bureau of labor statistics and not from dceo. It claim otherwise is a flat out lie.

  3. - Former MC - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 8:49 am:

    The Governor’s apologists can say what they will, but I know first-hand how some people in the current administration misrepresent figures. The GOMB is notorious for this, and this lack of trust has manifested itself in the proliferation of Memorandums of Understanding that both parties require of this administration. There were times when I wasn’t sure whether some misrepresentations were intentional or simply the result of incompetence. I think Bill Holland and his staff have wondered the same thing.

  4. - jechislo - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 9:01 am:

    This guy reminds me soooo much of Bill Clinton. He will say anything regardless of whether or not it is true. He will make a statement and expect us to believe it even when there are facts that prove he is not telling the truth. Like Bill, he thinks if he says something enough people will believe it.

    I’m ready for some honesty to return to the Governors office. That’s why I’m supporting Brady for Governor in 2006.

  5. - Bubs - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 9:23 am:

    Yes, but he’s Bill Clinton without the brains!

  6. - Bill - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 9:53 am:

    This guy Holland has got to go.

  7. - DOWNSTATE - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 10:05 am:

    Look back on all the programs and you will see that there is a pattern of over estimates.That is because this governor has to run on his record and once we take a hard look at what he has accompolished in his 4 years all we see is mistrust and a massige deficit.

  8. - Bill - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 10:13 am:

    The state budget must be balanced by law. There is no defecit.

  9. - the Patriot - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 10:14 am:

    Come on, who can dispute he has created jobs. He has laid off numerous state employees and hired 2 or 3 people to do the job 1 person had previously done. He has cut state jobs and contracted the work to contractors creating un-counted jobs (and campaing donations).

    If the gov wants to talk about job creation (which is a joke for him), he needs to be sure he includes all the jobs he created. Maybe he should stop trying to “create” jobs and start trying to “create” money to pay for the biggest largest debt in IL history, which is the effect from his side show job creation.

  10. - DOWNSTATE - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 10:21 am:

    Bill sorry but when you borrow 21 BBBBillion dollars that goes on the minus side or as some would say DEFICIT.Oh that unpaid debt has to be paid by you and me.

  11. - Darrell Democrat - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 10:25 am:

    There is no deficit if you don’t pay your bills

  12. - These are our choices? - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 10:36 am:

    Nothing to see here, this is merely a rumble between beancounters.

  13. - Budget Watcher - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 10:58 am:

    Holland can sure mess up a good story, can’t he Bill?

    BTW, if you don’t believe there’s a budget deficit, keep an eye on the Comptroller’s release of the GAAP figures for deferred or unfunded liability at the end of the past fiscal year. The numbers are sure to catch the attention of the bond rating agencies. No budget deficit? That was good for a chuckle.

  14. - Bill - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 11:15 am:

    Budget Watcher,
    If we could just get 4 R votes in the Senate we could sell enough bonds right now at decent rates to carry the state through. Don’t forget about our growing and improving economy,which will naturally enhance state revenues over the long haul, and the many one time revenue enhancements,and the increased revenue from the jobs bill once people start working and paying income tax, to say nothing of the spending cuts and pension reforms which will save the state billions in the long term. All of this without raising sales tax or income tax.
    The time is now before the fed ruins the economy again and interest rates become prohibitive.

  15. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 11:24 am:

    Since Blago has been governor, Illinois has lost ground compared to the rest of the Midwest. Undeniable fact.
    The only significant jobs he’s created are the new FBI offices to investigate his administration.

  16. - Maroon - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 12:32 pm:

    Re: Deficits. Turn to page A2 of today’s Wall Street Journal - it’s an article about state pensions. Congratulations to Illinois, we’re tied for #3! Whoops, that is we’re tied for the THIRD WORST funded state pension system in the US. Only 59.9% of our pension liabilities are funded. The average among states is 82.4%.

    Blago has pushed these expenses off into the future - he is sacrificing the financial security of tomorrow for political points today…IRRESPONSIBLE!

  17. - Randall Sherman - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 12:52 pm:

    How much more of this do we have to endure? Fellow Democrats, we have just 26 days to save our party and rid our state of this sorry excuse of a Governor!

  18. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 1:16 pm:

    Folks, we live in the 21st Century. Why are we even pretending that some government bureaucracy can crank out thousands of jobs? If you still want to believe that myth, then you deserve to be lied to. Lets all admit that we are wasting taxpayer’s money on this scam and stop pretending to audit results to justify it.

    Fact: Illinois sucks as a place to have a business under this administration. These people still believe in the New Deal. They thing magic happens in businesses and all they need to do is over-regulate them, over-tax them, and protect everyone from them. The Blagojevich administration has made Illinois a horrible place to do business in compared to other Midwest states, Michigan excluded.

  19. - Establishment Republican - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 1:28 pm:

    There is just more bad news regarding Blagojevich every day.

    I do not think I really know one person who is going to vote for him who even likes him or trusts him at this point.

    If by some circumstance, he does manage to win reelection, he might be the first candidate to ever be booed at his victory speech by his own supporters.

  20. - Judy's Hairdresser's Dye Salesman - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 1:32 pm:

    DCEO is set up to create a flood of fake good news (like the Daily Show?), and the substance of job creation is completely set aside (perhaps it has been so for much of its history). An earlier commenter remarked that states can’t claim too much credit for job creation, but I think neither do they deserve all the blame either if jobs are lost. DCEO is as much or more of a sham of job creation as it ever was, but that’s what voters demand. What bothers me about DCEO is how openly they have politicized the grant programs, hired the obligatory sycophants and bimbos (male and female), promoted the laconic and useless Jack Lavin, promised the world, and delivered none of what they promised, and if they do they deliver it years late. I think voters would respect the agency and the governor if they raised expectations to a reasonable level and reached or exceeded them. But when a governor makes hundreds of pledges he has no intention of keeping, these kinds of things matter little to the Governor or the people he hires who have so little respect for themselves that they will shill for a complete moral zero such as Rod.

  21. - Darrell Democrat - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 1:38 pm:

    The governor’s insistence on sticking to his campaign-friendly pledge not to raise income and sales taxes distorts the reality that “user fees” “one-time revenue enhancements” and other fake names for taxes (remember the ill-fated NPDES fee for municipalities discharing water through their sewer plants?) have cost the state jobs. Just ask the trucking industry, among others
    In an era of global economy; shifting of manufacturing jobs to cheap labor; elimination of the coal industry; Wal-Martization of agriculture; the state needs leadership to respond to these challenges.
    We don’t need false soundbites “I did it all without raising your taxes.”
    We need someone, somewhere to say, “We’re in a mess and it’s going to take everyone together to get through it.”
    Where have you gone, Paul Simon?

  22. - Budget Watcher - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 1:55 pm:

    Do you know how much the pension obligation is suppose to grow next year, FY 2008? Try $1.5 billion. That’s growth over this year. In a good year, the state’s looking at maybe $1 - 1.2 billion new revenue. So this means we won’t be able to meet the increased pension obligation next year, let alone try to pay for education (let’s say $450 mil new), Medicaid/AllKids/Vets Affairs ($500 mil new), and then all other state obligations ($300 mil new). The state is looking square in the face of a huge deficit in FY 2008.

    And your suggestion is to borrow? If Illinois can’t meet current needs without borrowing, that indicates that operational needs surpass opertional revenue. Rating agencies will kill the state. They’re already revisiting the Medicaid problem.

    Partisan rhetoric from both sides obscures some pretty severe fiscal realities. When Madigan’s staff came last year to the Governor with the plan to pass some modest pension reforms (modest, unless you’re a school district) in exchange for 2 yrs of pension deferrals, that was huge. It essentially took a monsterous burden off of the Dem controlled G.A. and the Governor’s Office through the upcoming budget cycle. But, it’s 2 years of temporary relief. The Governor was handed a 2 year pass on making any really difficult decisions - hence, the dire predictions from the Governor if Republicans win in November.

    You’re going to see some really tough years ahead, and I would expect more selling off of assets, like the student loan portfolio and quite possibly a long term lease purchase of the tollway sytem. I know the Governor has a progressive agenda, but the fiscal health of the state is being seriously eroded. And borrowing more is not the answer.

  23. - Bill - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 2:07 pm:

    Budget Watcher,
    Ok, you make some good points. Remember it was Rod who took the no tax pledge, not me. I would just as soon raise the income tax individual rate to 4.5%, tax services, close business tax loopholes, etc..
    That, it seems, won’t happen soon so let’s go ahead with the progressive agenda and pay for it when we’re forced to. In the long term these programs will actually SAVE the state money.
    Pre-school, for example, may cost 45 million next year. How much will be saved in the long run through less remedial education, better incomes in the future, fewer prisons (no offense, B Hicks)? I suggest, much more that the initial cost of 45 million. The same argument holds true Allkids and other populist programs.
    The gov’t should work for the people not the other way around. If, in the future, this requires the more wealthy among us to pay a little more so be it.

  24. - DOWNSTATE - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 2:38 pm:

    Well most of these programs,if you will take time to read,have been looked at by the experts and as usual it is some of Blago’s spin.Non of these programs are going to make better paying jobs.Non of these programs are going to do anything except put this state farther in debt.There is no program like he has put forth that is going to save the state money.The pre school is goig to cost the stae 455 million in a short few years.The pension is 38 billion behind and he wants to borrow more money from it and pay it back with the sale,if and when,of a casino license which will only amount to a couple hundred million.

  25. - Budget Watcher - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 2:49 pm:


    One last point, and one more relavent to the post. The administration has misrepresented figures and been caught on more than one occasion - the CMS savings numbers, the DCEO jobs numbers, and the number of AllKids eligibles all come immediately to mind. And these are just the numbers issues, notwithstanding the ethics issues.

    Honest and integrity count. I don’t know the Governor personally, but I have dealt closely with some of his staff, and at times I’ve found these qualities to be in short supply.

  26. - Bill - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 3:53 pm:

    Budget Watcher,
    Point well taken. However, if we are a blue state, and I think we are, programs like Allkids, pre-school, tuition tax credits, etc. are the types of things that we should be working for. For every staffer who is like you describe there are several at all levels that are young, energetic, ideaistic, and motivated to accomplish things that they believe in. Their main concern is to introduce and implement policies and programs that improve the average citizens’ quality of life. Many eschew the politics and concentrate on the policy. I am quite pleased and I must admit pleasantly suprised by the dedication, integrity, and quality of the Gov’s staff. They are definitely not your average north side ward hacks that I expected.

  27. - Anon - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 4:05 pm:

    We are not creating jobs we are LOSING JOBS and creating a WALMART economy in Illinois thanks to Rod Blagojevich and his rich spoiled friends

  28. - Bluefish - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 4:22 pm:


    Most Dems such as myself would be extremely supportive of all the programs that Blago has proposed…if we had the money to pay for them. The simple reality is that Illinois does not, and tricks like pension “reform” that allows us to skip payments on a serious underfunded liability merely worsen the problem. Blago’s inability to face fiscal reality combined with his disturbing tendency to not be able to tell the truth about virtually anything is pushing people like me into the Judy camp in November.

    Sorry, Bill, she cannot possibly be worse for the future of this state than Blago is.

  29. - "B Team" - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 4:51 pm:

    Bill -

    What are you smoking? Puffery has had a consistant lack of integrity during his “administration” This story appearred on the Sun Times website yesterday and was picked up by the Tribune today. Puffery does and says ANYTHING to make him “look good”, an other word is pandering. This state will be so far in debt by the time Puffery gets out of office that the next gov will have to raise taxes no matter what.

  30. - Jaded - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 4:59 pm:

    Not really related to this particular issue, but if the budget has to be balanced by law, then how could there have been a $5 billion deficit when Blagojevich took office? Besides, it is not by law, but by Article 8 of the Illinois Constitution, and that provision has not changed since July 1, 1971. So which is he lying about, the $5 billion dollar Un-constitutional defict then, or the balanced budget now.

  31. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 5:33 pm:

    Every dollar invested in education adds $8 to the economy.

    Every dollar invested in substance abuse treatment saves taxpayers $7 down the road.

    The smart thing to do is eliminate DCEO and every tax subsidy for “economic development” and reinvest that money in education and drug treatment.

    BTW, let’s all admit to ourselves and each other that DCEO is no less accountable or efficient today than it was under prior administrations.

    That said, we would get more bang for our buck by making our school system the envy of the nation.

  32. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 5:36 pm:

    Jaded, I think that the Constitution is the “law”. Anyway, the 5 billion “deficit” was actually the unanticipated expense of the Ryan pension give away which he had underestimated (”lied”?)and a lot of Illinois first promises that the new Governor had to put a stop to, along with the 1995 time bomb pension legislation passed and signed by Edgar when he knew he was going to leave office.
    Governor Blagojevich did a great job balancing the budget without raising taxes without the help , I might add, of his Dem colleagues in the GA.

  33. - Department of Redundancy Departments - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 7:05 pm:

    I think DCEO and DCCA are good ideas of an agency, but they have been run into the ground as complete political promotion tools. Let’s just gin-up some numbers to make it look like things are improving. It’s the lazy, short-term way to use such an agency. The right way is to actually do the hard work of nurturing and growing Illinois businesses, creating jobs and tax income. Creating something a governor and legislature can point to with pride and take some credit for.

    The agency needs to be disconnected from the campaign arm and left to do it’s very necesary work in peace.

  34. - Budget Watcher - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 7:07 pm:

    The $5 billion statement always makes me shake my head. The deficit cited was actually a two year number that actually added to approximately $4.2 billion. But since it was more than $4 bil, and since no one was going to check the math, rounding to $5 billion became fact. What’s $800 million here or there?

    For the sake of clarity, the deficit problem was not a function of Illinois First, which was a series of capital not operational costs, but rather was in large part due to a prolonged downturn in state revenues. I also find it ironic that, in addition to the dramatic revenue problems, a big big reason for the Ryan deficit was a three-year expansion of Medicaid to the elderly and disabled (long overdue) and the creation of SeniorCare, a comprehensive low-income drug program which began under Ryan.

    I say it’s ironic because significant expansion of government healthcare under Ryan helped to create a big deficit that the next governor had to handle. Sounds like deja vu all over again.

  35. - Norseman - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 7:28 pm:

    Bill wants to get rid of Holland because he’s been exposing Governor Puffery’s falsehoods. Now I have to say, I believe that Holland has a major character flaw that concerns me - he’s a Democrat. However, he hasn’t let that character flaw get in the way of doing his job in an impartial manner. Go figure.

  36. - Budget Watcher - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 10:01 pm:


    Unfortunately your investment return statements, although stated very directly, don’t tell me much. In fact, I don’t even know what the 8:1 and 7:1 investment ratios mean or how they’re estimated. And even if I knew how the returns were measured, these ratios don’t tell me how long the investment period is. By inference, every level of government should be dumping money into education because $1 somehow turns to $8. It’s kinda funny though, that you throw out these “facts” under a post that questions the veracity of the administration’s numbers.

  37. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Feb 23, 06 @ 10:53 pm:

    Budget Watcher 10:01:

    How dare you question dollars for education! “Everyone knows” that the more money you throw at the system, the smarter the kids will be. And who can be “against the kids?” I mean, facts are facts, after all.

    All seriousness aside, to have an educational system that is the envy of the nation first requires the students to have parental involvement in their lives that is the envy of the nation. In certain segments of the state (too few, IMO) this is already a reality. Educational efforts are always needed in any society and should be appreciated, but in the big picture, should not be looked to as a god unto itself.

  38. - Ex-Newfie - Friday, Feb 24, 06 @ 7:18 am:

    To Six Degrees: Amen and AMEN!! If parents have no value for education, they will pass it along to their children. Many parents are of the “real-timer” generation. Right now if what’s most important, not rewards in the future.
    Make money, buy things and hope the kids are learning and doing their homework.

  39. - roy slade - Friday, Feb 24, 06 @ 8:24 am:

    Budget guy- please remember rule number one when dealing with YDD- as with all Dems- the numbers need to be questioned.

    His statements that “BTW, let’s all admit to ourselves and each other that DCEO is no less accountable or efficient today than it was under prior administrations” is the usual pandering done by this administration. Please show me when the previous administrations had this many audit findings in consectitive years! (Note- you won’t). But, hey, why let the truth get in the way!

  40. - Out of State Options - Friday, Feb 24, 06 @ 8:46 am:

    To: Department of Redundancy Departments couldn’t let this one go,
    back in ‘99 Gov. Ryan & Mayor Daley and their respective economic development staffs (DCCA, Dept. of Planning) traveled to Detroit to (successfully) lobby Ford execs to build their first ever North American supplier park in Chicago instead of Atlanta. Fast forward to late ‘05 when Ford announces major plant closings including the Taurus Assembly in Atlanta, which used to be done in Chicago. The headline ‘Ford to close Taurus plant’ is in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and not the Chicago Tribune. So does the state’s efforts six years ago on a $400-million project that protects thousands of jobs while adding hundreds more constitute ‘the lazy, short-term way to use such an agency’ or does that qualify as ‘The right way is to actually do the hard work of nurturing and growing Illinois businesses, creating jobs and tax income.’ Just asking. And before answering you may want to consult the 3-thousand UAW workers at Chicago Assembly who still have jobs. And has anyone given those administrations and agencies credit for that proactive move? Doubtful.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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