Editorials

State capitol is house afire, not fire house

Illinois House members went home for a month. Apparently, nothing to do in Springfield.
Illinois House members went home for a month. Apparently, nothing to do in Springfield. Photo illustration

As the Illinois House last week debated how to stop Illinois universities from further decomposing, some lawmakers talked about staying in Springfield until they came up with a fix.

That didn’t happen. They all went home Friday and are not scheduled to return until April 4.

When the noon whistle blows, do firefighters turn off the hoses and go to lunch? When the battle is raging, do soldiers punch out and return to barracks because it is quitting time?

Of course not. Those are urgent situations.

Too bad Illinois House members feel no sense of urgency or emergency. No budget. No college spending authorization or help for the needy students who are not getting their tuition grants and may need to drop out. Time for a nice, month-long rest for the weary lawmakers of Springfield.

Colleges create wealth by improving our workforce. They hire thousands of people across Illinois, but specifically drive the economy in Edwardsville and Belleville and Granite City. Aren’t these economic engines worth putting in a few more days of work?

Not to mention creating any controls by adopting that little orphan of Illinois: the 2016 state budget.

The capitol building is on fire. Lawmakers cannot pretend Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner can put it out by himself when there is a drip of dollars coming in and an all-consuming debt standing at $7.25 billion.

Will anyone answer this ringing fire alarm?

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