Cash or Credit for Your $480,000 Bill?
You've seen them before. You can't help but notice them as you crawl out to the suburbs for whatever reason, a constant reminder that you still haven't sucked it up and bought an I-Pass. And for those of you who did make the investment, those bright blue signs winking out "Open Road Tolling - Rod R. Blagojevich, Governor" seem to say, "This is for you, buddy. Wasn't it worth it to play into my hands just so you can zoom past all those cash-paying, nickel-and-dimed losers?" You nod your head smugly in agreement. That is, until you get saddled with the bill.
Blago commissioned 32 of his eponymous signs to be built and placed on tollways, each at $15,000 a pop. Like a true salesman, he's passed that savings onto you, the faithful taxpayer. Now the state government wants to take out the loophole that allowed him to do so. Rep. Elizabeth Coulson (R-Glenview) wants to prevent elected officials from using taxpayer dollars to pay for things that just have their name on them. A 2003 reform prohibited the the use of constituent money for pamphlets, TV and radio ads to further their image, but not things like signs and billboards.
Although unanimously approved in the Illinois House, it could still be killed in the Senate (isn't that always the way?). The bill needs to be passed not only by Senate President Emil Jones, a Blago crony, but also by Blagojevich himself. Good luck with that one, Ms. Coulson. After all, a similar bill from Sen. William Peterson (D-Long Grove ... Long Grove has more than antique shops? We never knew) has sat around the senate since January. He's challenging the fact that Blago can put his name on the tollway, but Secretary of State Jesse White can't have his organ donation ads anymore. Both of these bills, while well-meaning, seem ultimately doomed. Where's Lisa Madigan when you need her?
Image via McHenry County Blog.