Synopses & Reviews
Persistent problems have left Illinois the butt of jokes and threatened it with fiscal catastrophe. In Fixing Illinois
, James D. Nowlan and J. Thomas Johnson use their four decades of experience as public servants, Springfield veterans, and government observers to present a comprehensive program of almost one hundred specific policy ideas aimed at rescuing the state from its long list of problems.
Nowlan and Johnson start with the history of how one of the most prosperous states of the 1950s became a present-day mess riven by debt and discord and increasingly abandoned by both businesses and citizens. Among their more than ninety proposals to restore Illinois to greatness:
An overhaul of state pension systems that includes more reasonable benefits and lengthening of the retirement age, among other changes;
Reducing one of the nation's highest corporate tax rates to attract business;
Medicare reform through an insurance voucher program;
Demanding that schools raise expectations for success, particularly in rural and impoverished urban areas;
A new approach to higher education that includes a market-driven system that puts funds in the hands of students rather than institutions;
Broadening of the tax base to include services and reduction in rates;
The creation of a long-term plan to maintain the state's five-star transportation infrastructure;
Raising funds with capital construction bonds to update and integrate the antiquated information systems used by state agencies;
Uprooting the state's entrenched culture of corruption via public financing of elections, redistricting reform, and revolving door prohibitions for lawmakers.
Pointed, honest, and pragmatic, Fixing Illinois is a plan for effective and honest government that seeks an even nobler end: restoring our faith in Illinois's institutions and reviving a sense of citizenship and state pride.
"Jim Nowlan and Tom Johnson are two of the most knowledgeable people in understanding Illinois state government as a result of their many years in and around Illinois government. Their new book, Fixing Illinois,
is an excellent overview of the many problems facing Illinois, and more importantly, how to fix those problems. Fixing Illinois
is a must read for anyone who cares about the future of Illinois."
--Governor Jim Edgar
by James Nowlan and Thomas Johnson is a prodigious effort to diagnose the ailments of a fundamentally strong state and prescribe a wide range of measures to improve the accountability of government and diminish widespread perceptions of corruption. It is objective and reflects extensive research and the real-world experience of its authors. Fixing Illinois
should be read by all concerned Illinois citizens and especially those who seek and occupy public office."
--Senator Adlai E. Stevenson III
About the Author
James Nowlan served two terms in the Illinois House of Representatives and worked under three governors. He is the coauthor of Illinois Politics: A Citizen's Guide. J. Thomas Johnson was director of the Illinois Department of Revenue and is President Emeritus of the Taxpayers' Federation of Illinois.