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3 Things to Annoy You Right Before Christmas

The bad news: Job growth in Illinois is too slow, and prison inmates probably watch better TV than you. The good news: Your lawmaker is one of the highest paid in the nation.

Feeling all warm and full of good cheer? Bah! Here's a little something to satisfy the Scrooge in you before the spirit of Christmas takes hold.

We Need More Jobs: At 8.7 percent, the Illinois unemployment rate is 1 percent above the national rate. And job creation is improving at a faster clip all around us, in Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, Iowa and Missouri, on average, according to Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner at the Illinois Policy Institute

"The reality is Illinois’ poor policies aren't allowing the state to participate fully in the national recovery. If only Illinois’ unemployment rate were equal to the average of its neighbors, 100,000 more Illinoisans would be working. Yes, jobs are slowly returning to the state, but that’s despite Springfield’s policies of overspending, overtaxing and over-borrowing — not because of it," they write on the IPI blog.

Prison TV Costs $2.2 Million: From 2010 to 2012, the state of Illinois spent $2.2 million in taxpayer money on MTV, ESPN, Fox Sports, BET, Home Shopping Network and other cable TV stations for the state's prison inmates, according to the 2012 Piglet Book assembled by our friends at the IPI.

Maybe steady doses of Rihanna and Chris Berman keep the cons happy and quiescent. 

At $38,268 a year, the state spends more per inmate than our Indiana neighbors do. The Hoosiers spend $14,823. If you're one of the unlucky Illinoisans to have lost a job, pay TV was probably one of the first things you cut back on.

Pretty Pennies in Someone's Pocket: Your wallet may be lighter, but you can be assured Illinois is a national leader in one respect — our state lawmakers are among the highest paid in America. The average salary for a member of the General Assembly is $77,382, according to the Better Government Association.

The average salary for the average Joe in the Land of Lincoln: $46,550.

In judging the value we get for the dollars spent on our reps, the BGA notes that former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker led a special State Budget Crisis Task Force that studied Illinois' financial condition and issued a special report. Let's just call it a job performance review for state government. 

"Infrastructure is deteriorating. Education is threatened. Public safety, public health, and care for the needy all are at risk. Taxpayers and the state’s competitiveness are also at risk," the report concluded. "The culture of budget gimmickry and short-sightedness pushes costs off to the future, but eventually that will be impossible — retirees may lose their pensions as the funds dwindle; low income and disabled people may lose their healthcare as costs escalate; and citizens and businesses seeking a stable environment may face steep and sudden tax increases."

Guess you don't get what you pay for, after all. Humbug.

This Patch on Politics post is published throughout the Chicago-area Patch network. This post was closed to comments Jan. 3, 2013.

BUTCH December 29, 2012 at 01:10 AM
If only the POTUS had allowed bankruptcy to the big 3 and had set it up to jettison those awful UAW contracts in Detroit, Illinois and Ohio AND REPLACED THEM with a more TPARTY competitive contract similar to Apple, HP and the Japanese Corp Samsung has in Chinese labor camps where coolies work 15 hr's day no days off and paid 10 YUAN a month which is even less than BAIN is paying which are being reported in the Oregonian. The hate of wingnuts toward a man who is more of a moderate GOP than Lefty DEM would be only a shade better if he embraced and signed more trade and slave labor treaties with the Biz partners of the Robme's and Bushes this is also one reason we are not to mention the Bush name they have been in the COMMIE SOCIALIST paradise for 22 years as partners of the same RED ARMY that ROBME is in partnership with the off shore drilling Corp. The NEO WING NUT running this blog will propably delete this as he has my last 4 posts i think this Independence 666 wing nut SON OF LUCIFER 666 is the editor.
steveisqueer January 03, 2013 at 03:08 PM
Kathy, are you single? I would love to meet you!!!:)
Megan James January 03, 2013 at 03:23 PM
Definitely time for the Patch Editors to shut down the ability to post comments on this one. Several of you are abusing the "Terms of Use" you agreed to when you signed up. Here's a little friendly reminder to stick to the topic at hand, be respectful of each other and avoid personal attacks against other posters. Acceptable Use While we encourage people to be honest and post what’s on their mind, communities thrive when people care about each other, and as such, Patch expects all of its users to be respectful of others. This means that whether you are being complimentary or critical, whether you are agreeing or disagreeing with the subject of an article or another user’s comment, you should act in a civil manner and refrain from personal attacks – after all, these are your neighbors. Thank you for keeping this site civil :-) Have a happy day!
russ harrison January 03, 2013 at 03:38 PM
Bruce Who?.... in 2014 for Governor. Because he knows that 2+2=4, NOT 5, NOT 3...only 4.
Dennis Robaugh January 03, 2013 at 06:27 PM
Say good night, Gracie. Comments on this post are closed.

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