Endorsement: Daily Herald backs Pritzker over Rauner for governor
A detailed assessment of state fiscal health was released this week by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia, and Illinois' fiscal condition ranked last.
We don't know which is sadder: that Illinois trailed every state in the union or that its horrifically low ranking comes as little surprise.
These are troubling times in Illinois. The exodus of our population and our businesses is only one sign of it.
But as with the irrefutable scientific evidence of global climate change, the implications for our future are even worse, downright frightening if nothing is done to address the problems.
Our state's debt ratio in 2016 was 27 percent worse than the national average, according to the Mercastus Center report. Our unfunded pension liability was 36 percent worse and made up 67 percent of the state's personal income.
We don't lay full responsibility for these problems at the feet of Gov. Bruce Rauner. Frankly, Democrats share most of the blame, and Rauner was elected four years ago (with our support) with a mandate to solve them. We have no doubt that he meant to do so -- and still means to do so.
But the reality is, under Rauner, not only has progress not been made, but problems have gotten worse.
It's not the desire or the will Rauner lacks, but the skill and the understanding of how to make government work.
A year ago, the conservative National Review put him on its cover with the headline, "The Worst Republican Governor in America." Unfortunately, Rauner has shown no indication that he has learned from his first dismal term.
We can't afford another four years of confrontation and stalemate.
Truth be told, we in Illinois live in a state of emergency.
Progress must come from somewhere, and we know that because of Illinois' political realities, it will not be through Rauner's re-election.
Hope for change rests only with Democrat J.B. Pritzker, a billionaire heir of the Hyatt hotel family fortune.
We're not without reservations about Pritzker. We're concerned about the lack of specificity in his graduated income tax vision. We're offended by toiletgate. And we're troubled by his ability to buy not just the governorship but also most of the legislature.
But Pritzker and Pritzker alone, among the four candidates on the ballot, can drive the change within the Democratic Party itself that must take place to solve Illinois' enormous problems.
He has the wealth to maintain his independence, the personal skills to build collaboration, the breadth of ideas necessary to address the issues and the ambition to make a difference.
We endorse Pritzker because status quo is not an option.