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Trib blasts plan with two-part editorial

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Not a good day for the governor’s lottery/education plan. First, the Trib slams the funding source:

Don’t embrace open-ended obligations. Back in 2003, the Blagojevich administration spoke of selling the state-owned James R. Thompson Center in Chicago’s Loop to cover state operating expenses–a bad idea on its face. To make matters worse, the state almost certainly would have wound up renting much of the building indefinitely from a new owner. There’s a reason most people would rather own a home than pay rent. At the end of the day, they own the valuable asset. […]

- Never eat your seed corn. Blagojevich’s plan is to sell or lease the lottery for $10 billion and give $4 billion of that money to schools over four years. Some of that $4 billion would expand the education infrastructure (such as building new schools), but it wouldn’t provide the means to pay for ongoing operations. Worse, the plan would, by 2025, completely eliminate the lottery’s revenue stream, which currently gives Illinois schools more than $600 million a year. Cashing out assets is one thing. Creating unfunded obligations for future governors is immeasurably more dangerous–all the more so when you consider the huge state pension obligations we’ve already kicked down the road.

Etc., etc., etc. The Trib made five distinct and criticial points about the guv’s lottery idea, then moved on to the education plan itself in another editorial.

Was Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s latest plan to boost education devised on the back of a cocktail napkin? That’s what it looks like. […]

(H)is plan to spend an extra $4 billion in four years got concocted over a long weekend as part of a deal to persuade a potential competitor to stay out of the race for governor. It shows.

Blagojevich’s detail-light education package raises many questions. Parts of the plan rely on vastly rebuilding the state’s education bureaucracy to assess and monitor reforms. Yes, that’s the same bureaucracy Blagojevich once demonized as wasteful and inept.

The proposal calls for the state to take over chronically failing schools. The law already grants the state the authority to take over schools. The relevant question: Is the state equipped to run struggling local school districts? The state board has already had trouble keeping an eye on the surging private tutoring industry. Soon it will have to vastly expand to oversee the governor’s ambitious statewide expansion of preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds.

Blagojevich’s proposal grants too much weight to relatively unimportant school matters, such as mentoring superintendents, and too little detail about significant ones, such as the takeovers of failing schools.

And on and on and on.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

3 Comments
  1. - scoot - Tuesday, May 30, 06 @ 10:43 am:

    If all this fails, and it’s headed that way fast will Meeks feel like a fool??


  2. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, May 30, 06 @ 10:53 am:

    We have a real education crisis in this state, but here we have a governor who has no interest in the issue until his political future is at stake. We wouldn’t be discussing this if it wasn’t for Meeks. Blagojevich’s “plan” is so foolish and short-sighted it seems painfully obvious that Blagojevich didn’t give any of this more than a moment’s thought.

    I learned that muddling through can sometimes work. But what we have been seeing with this governor has been too sloppy to be even considered muddling.

    Listen folks, Blagojevich’s plan clearly demonstrates this man’s priorities - himself. We have cut this guy more than enough slack and the time has come for us to let him go. He has not lived up to our expectations, his own promises, and he does not deserve re-election.


  3. - Bubs - Tuesday, May 30, 06 @ 11:05 am:

    This post from Illinoize says it better than I could:

    “Did I get this straight from today’s Sun-Times? Am I dreaming?

    The Blagojevich Administration will NOT release the Goldman Sachs reprot they have been touting on the lottery lease? Now they call it a “draft”?????

    These clowns want us to trust them on a $10 billion deal without releasing the report, and even that is a “draft”?

    TRUST THE BLAGOJEVICH ADMINISTRATION?!?!?!??

    Heck, even the Democratic leaders in the legislature make these guys sign Memorandums of Understanding on everything these days, but now we are to simply trust them with the biggest gamble in generations.

    THESE PEOPLE ARE A JOKE. A very bad joke, at that.”


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