McConchie: SIU study suggests Illinoisans tired of Madigan 'stranglehold' on power
A recent study revealed that Illinois’ financial crisis arises from “congenital failure” of leadership coupled with voters’ failure to grasp the enormity of the state’s money problems and their demands for accountability from legislators.
Conducted by Southern Illinois University (SIU) Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, the study, released this week, places the responsibility for Illinois’ current financial crisis on the shoulders of elected officials and voters.
“The leadership and political courage necessary to overcome this hard dichotomy has not been evident in Illinois politics over the decade and a half since the turn of the 21st century,” the study said “Stalemate, ignoring budgetary realities and a stubborn clinging to the status quo have been the order of the day. Thus, legislative and governmental gridlock have resulted in an almost total breakdown in the Illinois budgetary process.”
Sen. Dan McConchie (R-District 26) weighed in on the study, saying it highlights a common sentiment among Illinoisans.
"This study continues to show the same thing it did back in 2008 -- that the vast majority of people in Illinois, regardless of party, believe that Illinois is headed in the wrong direction,” McConchie told the Lake County Gazette. “The one constant during that time has been the lock that Speaker (Mike) Madigan (D-Dist. 22) has on power. That stranglehold must be broken."
The newly appointed senator is only a couple months into his tenure and has witnessed just how dissatisfied legislators are in the way things operate in the General Assembly.
"What has shocked me the most is how much discontent there is in Springfield, even among Democrats in the legislature,” McConchie said. “I talked to numerous members who expressed dismay and even anger at the scorched-earth tactics of Speaker Madigan. He really does hold the entire state prisoner to his lust for power."
The study emphasized the importance of political figures having the courage to be truthful and to make arguments based on facts about challenging topics such as tax and budget realities, the study said.
“They then must have the capacity to explain their actions to the public and defend those actions in the next election,” the report said.
The report also said that because it took many years of poor fiscal decisions to get to the current budget crisis, possible cutbacks in social-service programs and K-12 and higher education, and job losses, the state should have seen it all coming.
“None of this had to happen. It was not foreordained. It was not an act of God or a tragedy wrought by Mother Nature,” the report said. “The actions taken were those of the public officials responsible for the operation of the government. We can learn from instances when state government did not fail, when the budgetary chips were on the line, and when political leadership and courage were exhibited.”
The study also implores the media and educators to do a better job of educating voters, who must in turn “pay attention and respect the facts and realities, and demand empirical evidence for the claims being made by candidates for office.”