Another Kudo For The Journal’s Craig Adams


Once before, we here at PublicWatchdog wrote a post in praise of reporter Craig Adams of The Journal for some plain old good reporting (“Hurray For Craig Adams,” Nov. 9, 2007).  Today we do so again, this time for good reporting and some incisive thinking about the folly of the way government – in this case, the State of Illinois – spends our money.   

In his article on State Rep. Rosemary Mulligan’s recent attempts at pork-barrel politics (“Show Me The Money?” August 19), Adams reports on Mulligan’s crowing about how she can get Park Ridge nearly $400,000 of state funds…but only if the people of Illinois lose enough money at video gambling.  He quotes Mulligan thusly: “I gave the city of Park Ridge $330,000 for relief sewers,” along with additional funds for other projects – although she also warned that it won’t be available for at least 9 months.  And that’s assuming Park Ridge is willing to go video, because those communities that aren’t willing to play won’t get any pay.    

We’re not sure whether Rep. Mulligan remembers her 6th grade civics lessons but, if not, here’s a simple refresher course: Unless the cash is coming out of your personal bank account, Rosie, you aren’t giving us squat.  That money is coming from state coffers and belongs to the taxpayers and residents of this state.  In other words, you’re simply giving us back our money. 

Typical Illinois politician that she is, Mulligan apparently still thinks that good government means “bringing home the bacon,” although compared to the way her fellow pols are squandering the public purse in their own districts, Rosie’s $400,000 is more Bacos than bacon.

But we digress.  

Adams notes that this particular cut of pork depends on video gambling throwing off $1.1 billion a year in revenues for the state, based on the state’s cut of 25%.  That, in turn, requires that each of the nearly 13 million state residents, including kids, loses about $350 on video gambling each year.  So for a family with 2 kids under 18, mom and dad each have to lose $700 in order to do their part for Gov. Quinn’s goofy revenue plan.   

But where Adams’ analysis shines is in his observation that if each Park Ridge resident simply paid that same $350 directly to the City instead of gambling it away on video poker, Park Ridge would receive $13 million each year instead of Mulligan’s measly one-time $400,000.

Exactly right, Mr. A.  In some governmental circles, that’s called “shrinkage” – and we don’t mean the cold-water kind.

Even if the City chose a more modest plan and merely charged each of Park Ridge’s approximately 13,000 households an additional $350, however, that would raise over $4.5 million – more than 10 times what Mulligan’s self-styled “gift” to Park Ridge would provide.  

Whether the Park Ridge City Council sells out to video poker as a way to throw a few shovels full of cash into the gaping budget hole it dug for us because our aldermen lacked the self-control, the courage and the integrity to bite the bullet and actually balance the budget, remains to be seen. 

But from what we’ve seen of those guys over the past couple of years, we’re not placing any bets.

3 comments so far

Craig has raised journalism in this town to a higher level than I have experienced in more than 10 years. That has occurred simultaneously with the decline in the Herald-Advocate’s local coverage, making Craig twice as important to all of us.

Mulligan has been semi-irrelevant for years, and this is just another example of it.

And add another kudo to Mr. Adams. His counterparts could take a lesson or two, but it might have to be remedial.

Good job, Craig.

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