The Pantagraph

Brady, others need to give voters specifics

Friday, August 20, 2010

Illinois voters have waited long enough -- too long, in fact -- to learn how politicians intend to resolve the state's financial crisis.

As the Republican candidate for governor, state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington has to do more than say he will come up with specific budget cuts after the November election -- assuming he wins.

As a homebuilder, Brady should understand that prospective buyers are unlikely to purchase a house without seeing a model or at least a detailed blueprint first.

Where is Brady's blueprint for balancing the state budget? He can't get voters to buy into his candidacy without showing them the plans.

Although Brady is attempting to paint himself as a businessman who is not a "career politician," the fact of the matter is he has been in Springfield as a state representative, then a senator, for nearly 18 years.

The few specifics he has offered - such as ending cable television for prison inmates - don't come close to closing the massive budget gap. Other ideas don't have a payoff until further down the road or don't stand much chance of gaining approval from what is likely to continue to be a Democratic-led Legislature.

Earlier this year he complained about those who characterized his budget plan as a 10 percent across the board cut. Yet, in his latest pronouncement, Brady said that, as governor, he would demand that each agency give him a budget that's 90 percent of its present level.

It's not that his ideas of auditing the state's books and bringing in professionals to scour the budget are not good ideas - they just aren't enough given the enormity of the state's budget crisis.

Of course, incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn, Brady's Democratic opponent, hasn't offered much of a plan for resolving the budget mess, either.

The plans he has offered haven't succeeded in his more than 18 months in office.

And the Legislature itself has put off the nitty-gritty until after the election.

With an election looming, no one wants to suggest specific cuts that might anger potential voters, campaign contributors or special interest groups with get-out-the-vote clout.

However, it is important for the electorate to emphasize to incumbents and challengers that doing nothing or offering no specifics also will anger potential voters.

Those candidates need to step up and show leadership by specifically identifying how they will address the state's many problems.