Can't buy love, but it's a great Illinois tradition to buy votes. Second term governor Rod Blagojevich is so unpopular that he may have to purchase his way back into his job, assuming that he hasn't been indicted before then. He's having a rather difficult time of it, though, trying to find out what it is that would make the voters love him again.
The man who would be king of the state has taken to throwing out ideas that sound voter-friendly on the surface. He's at the point in his political career, however, when pundits look beneath the surface and report on the facts, rather than his flights of populist fancy.
He came up with an enormously expensive plan to build new roads and schools, but everyone knew he had been gathering campaign contributions from the companies that would build those same roads and schools, so the voters of Illinois won't support the legislation and they don't want their elected representatives to support it either. They know a cod when they see one.
Nothing is moving, no programs in train that would make Mr. Blagojevich popular and beloved of the citizens of Illinois.
How about buying the love of Illinois' 16,000 disabled veterans? Doesn't that sound like the act of a kind and thoughtful man?
The governor would like to eliminate property taxes for those 16,000 who made a great sacrifice for the rest of us. Hurray, said the attendees of Veterans Day at the State Fair when he made his grand announcement.
Who's going to pay for it? said the rest of the taxpayers of Illinois.
Anywhere from $35 million to $40 million dollars would be lost to local governments, which means all non-disabled veterans would pay more in property taxes to make up for the shortfall.
Who can argue against my plan, says Mr. Blagojevich, to do this great act of loving kindness for our disabled veterans?
Someone needs to tell him that those who would be made to foot the bill would easily argue against it, and that would be a majority. 16,000 votes, bought at a cost to millions of property owners in the state of Illinois---not anywhere near enough to get elected.