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Trapped in the haunted house that is Illinois

Haunted by corrupt politicians, mounting state financial woes, and worrisome tax increases, Illinois is like a haunted house for many. Only when the state gets its house in order will residents find relief from fear.

Published: Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

Haunted houses are popular this time of year, providing frightful fun for area folks.

But what if the haunted house was really haunted, and you were trapped inside?

Welcome to Illinois, where residents are bedeviled by corrupt politicians, mounting pension debt, worrisome tax increases, and the realization that life shouldn’t be this vexing.

Approach any Halloween haunted house, and you can expect to enter through creaky, old doors. The State Capitol used to have creaky, old doors – until the Legislature spent an astronomical $670,000 to replace three sets of them.

Haunted houses may portray some poor soul trapped behind bars. Illinois’ latest corrupt politician to go behind bars is former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who entered federal prison this week, a year and a half after former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

In a haunted house, a vampire may threaten to suck your blood. In Illinois, politicians plot to make the temporary tax increase permanent to keep sucking more money from your wallet.

Haunted houses have spinning passageways that make people dizzy. Illinois has political spin doctors that do the same.

Haunted houses provide work for every ghost and goblin. Not so for Illinois, with its thousands of idle workers and 9 percent jobless rate.

A haunted house may have coffins occupied by the living dead. At the Illinois Capitol, the House Rules Committee is where reform legislation goes to die a slow death.

In a haunted house, you might be menaced by the headless horseman. In Illinois, it’s mindless governance from which has sprung 6,994 taxing bodies – the most in the nation.

Outside haunted houses, you can hear a lot of screaming. Outside Illinois, you can hear a lot of laughing as out-of-staters mock our culture of corruption.

Haunted houses take your money and give you an uneasy feeling. Hmm – that sounds a lot like Illinois state government.

In the haunted house that is Illinois, residents won’t see difficult problems fixed unless the governor and Legislature finally agree on a course of action.

Will that happen anytime soon?

Sadly, not a ghost of a chance.

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