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Politics and child support

Thursday, Jul 27, 2006

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?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

16 Comments
  1. - anonymous - Thursday, Jul 27, 06 @ 1:28 pm:

    It does seem to be semantics with that small of an increase but from the point of view of someone who has worked indirectly with that system any progress is worth a plug. It’s amazing that people will go to the lengths they do to avoid supporting their own children. It seems we could do more in terms of penalizing them.


  2. - blue - Thursday, Jul 27, 06 @ 1:29 pm:

    Since child support payments vary widely depending on the income of those involved, I’d like to know how many kids are being supported rather than just the cumulative dollars involved.

    If we’re now collecting from a lot of lower income people that really need it more than the upper income levels, that’s impressive. Just cumulative figures don’t mean much to me.


  3. - sam - Thursday, Jul 27, 06 @ 1:35 pm:

    It was $760 million in 2001. Not $992 million.


  4. - sam - Thursday, Jul 27, 06 @ 1:37 pm:

    err… $729 million
    http://www.illinois.gov/PressReleases/PressReleasesListShow.cfm?RecNum=5049


  5. - Dejavu - Thursday, Jul 27, 06 @ 1:48 pm:

    Sam
    You’re using the governors fuzzy math.


  6. - anon - Thursday, Jul 27, 06 @ 2:24 pm:

    Um, I could be wrong, but doesn’t the attorney general’s public aid bureau handle collection of child support?? Is this really something the guv can take credit for?


  7. - Tired of the Mess - Thursday, Jul 27, 06 @ 2:42 pm:

    Actually, Public Aid/Healthcare and Family Services deals with the collection of child support. Blago spins the numbers again, very much like the pension (”I have added to the fund by $$) while conveniently forgetting that the funds were from another source (state employees picking up the 4% from their pockets).


  8. - DOWNSTATE - Thursday, Jul 27, 06 @ 2:45 pm:

    Actually the county courts,states attorney,circuit clerk and judges have more to do with than anyone.You should know by now if they tell you a number divide it by two.


  9. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jul 27, 06 @ 2:48 pm:

    What excites me is the fact that if we continue to improve at this rate, we will have this problem solved in, what 2040?

    Whoo Hoo!


  10. - NumbersGuy - Thursday, Jul 27, 06 @ 3:06 pm:

    What a great decade it will be! Child support fixed in 2040, pensions 90% funded in 2045, etc. etc.


  11. - west downstater - Thursday, Jul 27, 06 @ 3:43 pm:

    The thread’s question is a joke, right? This is the gov that finds great spin in HIS OWN INSPECTOR GERNERAL’s damning report about HIS OWN corruption. Here’s a gov that would ‘crow’ about putting dirty shorts on; not just if he could spin it; but if ANYONE is dumb enough to cover it and publicize it. Puleeze.


  12. - Buck Flagojevich - Thursday, Jul 27, 06 @ 4:07 pm:

    No he should not be crowing about this issue, but given Blago’s record for taking credit for everything good, well, what does one expect?

    This part of the editorial makes GRod look as stupid as he is,

    “It’s good that the numbers are moving in the right direction. Some of the credit goes to a federal law mandating that states designate a clearinghouse for dispersing child support payments.”

    Gee Rod. Take credit for that federal law. Blago is beginning to move into the mega-putz catagory.


  13. - Left Leaner - Thursday, Jul 27, 06 @ 5:03 pm:

    To be accurate and fair, the cleanup of child support enforcement in Illinois got a big jump start under Gov. Ryan.

    Gov. Gloryhound is only touting this because it is a little bit of good news - and he needs some. His administration has made some improvements, but child support enforcement has not been a serious focus of his administration no matter what he says. Let the spin begin!


  14. - state worker A - Thursday, Jul 27, 06 @ 6:09 pm:

    In answering your question “Is progress in that order of magnitude worthy of all the crowing from the governor?” NO – but he needs every bit of good press there is nowadays. I bet your bottom dollar that you get some ‘sleeper’ who will vote for him based on this issue alone.


  15. - JohnR - Thursday, Jul 27, 06 @ 7:55 pm:

    Considering that this state has a pitiful record of child support enforcement (especially under everyone’s darling Mr. Edgar), any kind of increase is welcome.

    Look. Collecting child support is not like collecting taxes - skim a percentage off the top. It takes a lot of work to get money from fathers who don’t feel they owe anything. Getting every single dollar is a challenge. Deadbeat dads don’t just automatically pay because the court orders them to.

    It isn’t magic that the employees at HFS have collected 50% more. They should be commended for it.


  16. - Cat - Thursday, Jul 27, 06 @ 9:57 pm:

    Thank you Buck! New moniker for the Gov:

    BlagoPutz!!!


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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