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Pew report gives low grade to Illinois government

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in Human Resources

The Washington, D.C.-based Pew Center recently released a report grading state governments on their general performance. Illinois scored a C on the report card.

In keeping with contemporary sensibilities, this C did not mean average—it meant the bottom of the barrel. Only two states, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, ranked lower, and six states tied. Each of the five states neighboring Illinois earned B’s.

Illinois government weaknesses cited in the report included the state’s budget process, finances, worker training and development and the lack of a statewide program for roads, schools and other construction projects. The Pew Center called the state’s long-term financial prospects “a bit frightening.”

The report also noted acrimony between state lawmakers and Gov. Rod Blagojevich, which it said creates a “poisoned political atmosphere.” The governor’s office denounced the center’s findings, saying the report focused on “politics instead of fiscal facts.”

Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability in Chicago, saw it differently. “At a C, we’re overrated,” Martire said.

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