Signs of Illinois’ changing times

It was disappointing to see the protests at Gov. Bruce Rauner’s appearance in Belleville this week, and not just because of the disrespect shown to the governor.

It was a sign that many voters in Illinois still don’t get it. They don’t see that they have aligned themselves with the myth that House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton use their power to help them.

If Madigan, Cullerton and Co. wanted to help the middle class and everyone else in Illinois, they would be working with Rauner to revitalize our state’s economy and bring in more jobs. The Democrats’ policies – their desire to take care of special interests even when it drives away businesses and jobs and adds to taxpayers’ burden – are the reason that almost 25 cents of every $1 in the general fund go to pensions rather than roads, education and social services.

Their policies are the reason that jobs, including union jobs, are being created in other Midwest states rather than in Illinois. They are the reason that half the residents of our state would move somewhere else if they could.

The Democrats’ bright idea is to tax more heavily, which means taking more money out of everyone’s pockets, including the protesters’. But without fundamental change in the way Illinois conducts business, it would be a wasted, costly action.

On another level, the carefully organized protest last week, complete with its slick, professional signs, was actually a good sign for Illinois. It means that Madigan and Cullterton are running scared that Rauner is going to disrupt their status quo. The politicians understand that Rauner has the momentum, and that the balance of power in Illinois may be on the verge of shifting from the special interests to the overall public good.