The state of the state, unfortunately, is not good.
And in saying that, we could point to varied evidence. Illinois' sorry legacy of corruption makes it a laughing stock around the country. Our business climate is inferior to most of the nation when Illinois' natural advantages should make it a leader. Throughout most of the state, our educational systems are underperforming. The political apparatus in Springfield is broken, unable to get almost anything meaningful done.
Of most immediate pertinence, the state budget is tragically, inescapably out of control. Small businesses that contract with the state don't get paid. Officials with hospitals and social service agencies wonder when the money the state owes them will show up. Illinois is so far behind its constitutional obligation to fund education that no one takes that obligation seriously anymore. Public pensions are irrationally bloated; then, just as bad, public employees can have no confidence that those pensions will be there when they retire. The state's credit rating is abysmal. The budget deficit is a numbing $13 billion.
In short, were the state a private enterprise, it would be in bankruptcy. Some of its leaders might even be in jail. (Oh yeah. How could we forget? Some past state leaders are, in fact, in jail!)
Gov. Pat Quinn isn't solely responsible for this mess. He inherited much of it and hasn't gotten a lot of help cleaning it up. But he can't duck his share of blame.
In the face of this huge budget gap, what has he done? Given his staff raises. Cut a cynical deal with the state's most important public employee union pledging not to lay anyone off.
Look, we like Quinn personally. We think he means well. But he's not equipped to get Illinois out of this sorry situation.
That leaves no choice but the Republican nominee. There are three minority party candidates on the ballot and another who's a write-in, but they are not realistic options. At most, they are protest votes, and the problem with that kind of protest is it could put Quinn back in office.
With that as the backdrop, we endorse state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington for governor.
Not an ideal candidate, Brady's personal views veer to the right of our tastes and the well-being of the state, but we take him at his word that he won't push a social agenda as governor and we call on him to govern from the middle.
Meanwhile, Brady has three things going for him:
1. He is committed to a philosophy that the state cannot spend what it does not have.
2. He believes strongly in transparency in government.
3. He is not Pat Quinn.
Ultimately, the question is this: How can we expect the state to get out of its historic mess if we keep electing the same people?
The answer, of course, is that we can't. Bill Brady for governor.