Illinois state Sen. Jason Plummer (R-Edwardsville)
Illinois state Sen. Jason Plummer (R-Edwardsville) fumes at the level of corruption in Springfield and the damage it causes residents throughout the Prairie State.
“Corruption in the state of Illinois has given us a reputation that causes people to be uninterested in investing in or moving here,” Plummer told the East Central Reporter. “It’s also caused a lot of people to leave and the institutional corruption makes the cost even greater. We don’t have one or two bad apples, one or two corrupt municipalities – we have a system that has been designed to benefit certain people who know how to work the system.”
Plummer’s views have been substantiated as a new Harvard University Center for Ethics survey recently concluded that Illinois now ranks as the second most corrupt state in the nation, and Chicago rates as the country’s most corrupt city. And the state’s losses have been more than just to its reputation, with Illinois Policy Institute estimating that nearly $10 billion in economic activity has been lost since the start of the millennium as a result of all the government dysfunction.
“They have turned taxpayers into an ATM machine that they have plundered,” Plummer said. “We’ve been harmed greatly by this and you wonder how these people are going to be the ones to fix things.”
In the last 10 months alone, taxpayers have had to endure the spectacle of seeing a veteran state representative arrested on federal bribery charges, the home and offices of a longtime state senator raided in connection with an ongoing kickback scheme, and at least three political insiders with connections to longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) targeted by federal agents as part of a widening probe.
“A lot of people in Springfield talk about reform, but you have to ask yourself where are they when Republicans introduce common-sense proposals,” Plummer said. “Either they are benefitting from the system themselves or are afraid to go against those who are. In my mind, witnessing corruption and not doing anything about it is pretty much participating in it.”