The Journal-Standard

OUR VIEW: Let’s not talk about the elephant

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Freeport, Ill. — We have a sinking feeling that, if elected, both of the major party candidates for Illinois governor will bring more “business as usual” when it comes to solving the state’s financial crisis.

We make this statement because neither incumbent Democrat Pat Quinn or Republican challenger Bill Brady have provided any insight on their solutions for solving the $13 billion budget deficit, the $80 billion pension shortfall, or the six month backlog in unpaid state bills.

Both candidates are playing a delicate game of balancing what voters want to hear with what needs to be done. Telling people that higher taxes, fewer state services, and fewer state employees are the only way to prevent the Illinois ship from sinking will cost votes.

Instead both Brady and Quinn have glossed over the issue of state finances and decided to steer their respective campaigns in other directions. Quinn toward things like “sales tax holidays,” and Brady on his pledge to clean up Springfield.

They have homogenized themselves by refusing to confront what matters most to taxpayers and voters, and choosing instead to talk about issues of less consequence.

Third party candidates have no such inhibitions. Independent Scott Cohen has confessed he doesn’t have a clue to solving the state’s financial crisis, but argues that his position outside Springfield is an assurance that he will make the changes necessary.

Green Party candidate Rich Whitney offers a detailed plan on his website that raises revenue with new taxes and calls for a reduction in state spending. At least he has the sense to talk about what matters to Illinois voters.

Illinois will not return to financial health until its political system takes responsibility for the dramatic dilemma that it has created.

Candidates who worry that their campaign position will some of the state’s constituency based on spending cuts or tax increase are getting their priorities mixed up.

Voters want to know what they are facing, and what the proposed solution is, before they enter the voting booth on Nov. 2.