Key provision in opioid abuse fight signed into law
State leaders don’t tell voters the cost when they are taking credit for bringing jobs to Illinois. State bureaucrats don’t tell voters the cost when they are making decisions to send jobs out of Illinois.
Two state press releases recently made a big deal out of the 250 jobs Carl Buddig lunch meats would bring to an old Butterball processing facility west of Chicago. They touted the jobs, but the Chicago Tribune tells us the cost will be about $4 million in incentives.
So when you have a $1.2 million state contract to award, do you give it to an Illinois company that will create 29 jobs and put $722,400 a year towards salaries, or do you hire a Boston company that will hire 12 beantown residents and put about $900K of the contract toward overhead?
Illinois Department of Human Services bosses scored the companies competing to get paid $1.2 million, a set amount from a federal grant, to provide a 24-hour hotline for those Illinoisans trying to get off opioids. When they ranked them all, the dollars and jobs went to Boston.
“It’s $1.2 million that goes somewhere else,” said Dennis Hopkins, executive director of Iroquois Mental Health Center. His proposal was the one who would have created 29 jobs and put most of the contract into employees’ pockets, not his or his agency’s.
But in its wisdom, DHS didn’t want someone with local ties that might shovel addicts into their buddy’s treatment facility. Never mind that it is often difficult to find an open bed, much less an open bed at a specific treatment facility.
Hopkins pointed out that familiarity can be a good thing.
“We know the territory. We know what’s available and which areas provide which services, and we know the quality,” he said.
Not to mention, that $1.2 million will be spent regardless of the vendor. Too bad no one at DHS thought local jobs were worthy of a higher score, or that a governor running for re-election didn’t see the value in a press release about 29 new Illinois jobs.