Blagojevich Promises to Cut Paid Political Appointments
Toomey, Shamus, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Shamus Toomey Daily Herald Staff Writer
Gov.-elect Rod Blagojevich on Tuesday pledged to slaughter or at least wound the sacred cow of Illinois politics - the more than 150 highly paid political appointments governors make to state boards and commissions.
The Democrat's goal to trim more than a third of the coveted paid positions, which are often doled out as political favors, comes as outgoing Republican Gov. George Ryan tries to push through his own board appointments. Some of Ryan's moves would give loyal followers jobs that will extend deep into Blagojevich's term.
Blagojevich acknowledged that even if he could cut all of the paid posts, which is unlikely, he would save the state only $6.7 million a year. That is just a fraction of the more than $2.5 billion budget hole Blagojevich will inherit when he takes office in January.
Still, he said the commission crackdown was the first part of a strategy to get Illinois citizens to realize no one is safe from looming budget cuts.
"You know the old Chinese saying, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step? This is a step towards ultimately asking a variety of people in the state to join us in a shared sacrifice to get a handle on this budget crisis," he said.
Lt. Gov.-elect Pat Quinn said if the state has to choose "between a hungry bureaucrat and a hungry child," the kids will win out.
"It's time to put the bureaucracy on a diet in Illinois," Quinn said. …