The Tribune editorial board flushes out a recent press release.
Earlier this month, Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced that the state helped to collect a record $1.14 billion in child support payments in the last fiscal year. “Before I became governor, the child support system in our state was the worst in the nation,” Blagojevich said in a statement. “But this program has turned around. … More Illinois parents than ever are getting the payments they are owed so their children can have the childhood they deserve.”
Just how big of a turnaround has this state really made? The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement says that in 2001, when Illinois ranked dead last of all the states in collecting child support payments, only 38 percent of the $2.61 billion owed to Illinois children was collected. That came to roughly $992 million.
But compare that with the governor’s new “record” of $1.14 billion. Not a huge jump. Now consider that the new state total for child support owed has risen to $2.8 billion. So the collection rate since fiscal 2001 has improved by roughly 2 percentage points, give or take some deadbeats.
Which raises this question: Is progress in that order of magnitude worthy of all the crowing from the governor?