Monday, December 05, 2005

It's the Economy, or Maybe Not

My friend Ralph Martire has in interesting piece in today's State Journal-Register discussing a new report on the state of Illinois' economy. The report, “The State of Working Illinois”, was produced by his organization, the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, together with Northern Illinois University, with significant input from the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The study, funded by the Joyce Foundation, identifies Illinois specific job, wage, work force and industry developments over the last 15 years, and is available online at

To be honest, I have yet to read the whole thing, but I found this excerpt highlighted by Ralph to be very interesting and troubling:

Over the last 15 years, economic growth in Illinois lagged both the nation and the Great Lakes Region. While overall employment grew, the largest job growth occurred in the low-paying service sectors.

Meanwhile, Illinois lost more than 222,500 well-paying manufacturing jobs. Most of the service sector jobs that replaced lost manufacturing jobs, paid 29.2 percent less than the jobs replaced. No surprise, then, that the report found inflation-adjusted median income for all Illinois households declined by more than 12 percent since 1999, the second-worst decline of any state in the nation. Concurrently, poverty in Illinois increased, while the number of jobs that provide health-care coverage and private retirement benefits declined.

For the next twelve months, Illinois voters are going to be simultaneously told that Illinois' economy is right on track, or not even on the track, depending upon who is doing the telling. And both sides are going to trot out facts and figures to support their position. But scholars aside, I think that it will once again come down to the question of "Are you better off than you were four years ago?"

Yet ironically, just as it was four years ago, I think that the bigger question on voters' minds will be "Do I trust this party to be in the Executive Mansion?" And rest assured, there will be plenty of debate on that subject as well. It's a sad situation indeed when ethics issues repeatedly trump other issues that should be the real focus of government.


At December 6, 2005 at 3:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, why are you always bashing blagojevich? Someday you will run for higher office and your opponent will circulate all the pictures of the early blagojevich press conferences where your face is right in view of the camera and ask why you are a fair weather friend. There are so many of these pictures -- all from when times were good for blago. My how you run when things go bad.

At December 6, 2005 at 9:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you should drop the hon. from your blog name. It's so pompous. People know that you're a state rep and that state reps are honorable. It's when you start calling yourself honorable that you become anything but.

Just a little constructive criticism.

At December 7, 2005 at 9:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ditto and ditto.

At December 7, 2005 at 10:36 AM, Blogger Rep. John Fritchey said...

I don't see anything in this post that 'bashes' the Governor. All I said was that ethics are going to be a big issue in the upcoming election. Do you really think that they won't? I said nothing one way or the other about the substance of any allegations. In fact, I think that it will be an issue for both parties. Reread my post. The thrust is that I think that it is unfortunate to have to keep dwelling on these issues, because every minute that we spend on them is time that we don't spend talking about jobs, healthcare, education funding, and a host of other major issues.

As far as dropping the honorific from the posts, makes sense. Is this better?


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