Rod Blagojevich, the first Democrat Governor of Illinois in 26 years, inherited from his Republican predecessors, a staggering deficit of 5 billion dollars -- by far, the largest deficit in the history of Illinois.
In fewer than four years, Blagojevich has reorganized and successfully balanced our state budget without raising state income taxes or state sales taxes.
How are we Illinoisans suffering from Blagojevich's budget tightening? Are we sacrificing our children, working families and seniors? Far from it!
We're the only state in the U.S. whose kids, ALL OF THEM, are guaranteed health insurance coverage! We've also insured hundreds of thousands of our seniors and working adults!
Education funding was increased by 2.3 billion and our graduation standards were raised for the first time in more than 20 years.
60,000 new jobs were created in Illinois and with our minimum wage of $6.50, we're one of just 16 states with a minimum wage above the $5.15 national minimum wage.
Crime rates are down, in every category, across the entire state. Traffic fatalities in the state are at a 61 year low.
What's more, because our state is increasingly pro-kids and pro-working families under Blagojevich, more pregnant women are choosing motherhood and the number of abortions performed in Illinois has dropped to the lowest numbers since 1973!!
We got all of this and more! From a Democrat.
A lot of people believe in the Republicans' favorite campfire tale bogie-man... the evil tax and spend Democrat. But, the truth is that both parties tax because both parties spend. (A tax cut, at any level of government, that isn't matched to or exceeded by budget cuts is an expensive ploy for popularity points with costly, long term, ramifications.)
If you don't think Republicans like taxing us every bit as much as Democrats do, it might interest you to learn that it was a Republican Governor -- Richard Ogilvie -- who, in 1969, instituted the Illinois state income tax and that each and every increase, since then, has come from Republican Governors! One of our most popular Republican Governors, Jim Thompson, not only passed Illinois' largest-ever income tax increase, he also gave us a whopping 25% increase in our state sales tax!
Some Blagojevich critics want our health care for kids and the increased education funding undone. But, by and large, we Illinoisans like that our kids are healthier, smarter and safer and that it's getting a little easier to afford to raise them here.
The candidates vying for the Republican nomination in the governor's race are vowing to put this state back on track. What they've failed to take into account is that if we wanted to go where that train was taking us, we wouldn't have disembarked at the last stop.