When Gov. Pat Quinn last week appointed his former campaign manager Lou Bertuca as the new head of the Illinois Sports Facilities authority, some Illinoisans were suspicious of the patronage feeling to the situation. But Scott Reeder says the bigger issue is not who Quinn chose to fill the position (even after Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner asked him to hold off on big appointments through the end of his term), but that Illinois has a taxpayer-funded agency in charge of its sports teams at all.
Why on Earth are we giving tax dollars to subsidize the wealthy individuals who own professional sports teams? It makes no sense. It's corporate welfare at its worst. The best excuse I've heard is, other states and cities do it.
Well, sports subsidies got their illegitimate birth right here in the Prairie State. And there is no reason their death can't begin here in the Land of Lincoln as well.
I witnessed first-hand the traumatic delivery of the nation's first major sports subsidy bill.
In the waning minutes of June 30, 1988, then-Gov. James Thompson literally was racing against the clock to pass a $120 million subsidy for the White Sox, who were threatening to move to Florida. The measure needed to pass before midnight, when the legislative session would go into overtime and a supermajority would be needed to pass legislation. The measure had the support of House Speaker Mike Madigan, a diehard Sox fan.
Read the rest of Reeder's sports-and-taxes commentary at Reboot Illinois.
While Illinoisans wonder what to do with that part of the state's financial question, one Illinoisan in particular is being singled out for his influence over one of Illinois' very biggest financial questions. Institutional Investor named Rauner as the number one most influential person in the country when it comes to dealing with pensions crises. As the on-deck leader of the state with the biggest unfunded pension liability in the country, Rauner will certainly have a chance to make a difference, but just how is yet to be seen. See who else from Illinois made the list at Reboot Illinois.