* From the Illinois Policy Institute’s news service…
While some blame the lack of state funding for various services and programs as a reason why there’s violence in the streets of Chicago, Gov. Bruce Rauner said a lack of opportunity is a bigger culprit.
Rauner said no community is immune from violence and dismissed assertions that dried-up state funds is the root of the problem.
“The No. 1 problem we have for the long term, whether it comes to violence or poverty or low incomes or anything else, is lack of economic opportunity, and that comes from lack of being competitive in Illinois.”
Rauner has been pushing for reforms that he said will make Illinois more competitive.
“We have not been doing this for decades, and it’s the No. 1 reason we have these problems,” Rauner said.
* Rauner actually made a much more pointed connection between gang violence and his Turnaround Agenda…
“Violence caused by gangs and drug battles, directly related to lack of opportunity. Directly related to lack of opportunity.”
And then he pointed yet again to Indiana as a model for economic growth, correctly noting that tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs have been added in that state, while Illinois lags infinitely behind.
* But how is Indiana doing on violence and quality of life issues? After all, if it’s such an employment mecca, shouldn’t we also see a far better way of life over there?
From Jake Lewis at Illinois Working Together, a pro-union, anti-Rauner group…
Hi Rich -
Not sure if you saw the governor’s comments today regarding violence and the budget impasse (see here at 3:25). The governor says the “number one problem” causing violence or poverty is “lack of economic opportunity.” The governor then points to Indiana as a model for Illinois, a state that has “created economic opportunity” to address the problems of crime and poverty.
Though the governor may be enamored with our eastern neighbor, there are a few things he failed to mention about Indiana:
Though Illinois certainly faces challenges - challenges exacerbated by Rauner’s failed governorship - following the Indiana model would throw Illinois into a race to the bottom. Instead, the governor should drop his extreme agenda, pass a fully funded budget, and work collaboratively to get Illinois back on track.
Indiana has a lower average cost of living than Illinois, so higher median incomes don’t buy as much here as they do there. And the reductions in respective poverty levels are well within the margin of error.