More Like Montana: Why Quinn’s new proposal is taking the wrong approach

There are very few things that piss me off.

Sure, I get a little upset when someone steps on my toes with their five-inch heels. And it makes me a little bit mad when people cut in the Espresso Royale line. And I hate mustaches — and the word “jam.”

So, yes, I get irked about a lot of things. But usually I only feel a twinge of anger for a couple of minutes, and then I move on with my life.

But when I learned that Gov. Pat Quinn proposed to close seven prisons and mental institutions for the mentally ill, I felt the rage. I burned in the white-hot rage that is injustice and poor judgment. And here, a couple of days later, I’m still burning.

What’s next? What if we used the Quinn-strategy on University programs? Would he suggest doing things such as shutting down the Counseling Center? Should we start to fold down progressive programs, like the Women’s Resource Center?

Alright, yes, I understand that we’re in a recession. I really do. And I get that we need to cut back spending.

But c’mon, Mr. Quinn. May I suggest making sure than any unpaid bills from out-of-state transactions get paid, or maybe a Green Movement that could cut down on the number of pages printed to save some dough? Anything but getting rid of facilities that try to aid the mentally-challenged and those that house criminals?

First of all, there’s the thought that mental facilities may have the ability to help patients in need. Should the state of Illinois throw that away to save some money? Secondly, there’s also the issue of the proper placement of the mentally ill and the imprisoned once the centers start to close. Crowding up prisons isn’t going to solve anything.

Also, can I say that this is not the time to lay more than 1,900 people off? Yes, I understand that if a facility is losing money for the state, it has to be under review. But in this case, it’s a bummer that nearly 2,000 are getting laid off for working centers that shouldn’t even be shut down.

Even if Quinn is so steadfast about closing down the centers, he should probably first create new jobs for these people before sending them into the rough jungle that is now unemployment. The idea is to build up the economy, and while that means cutting unnecessary spending, it also means curbing the unemployment rate, not adding to it.

Maybe Illinois should adopt the Montana way of spending. Montana is riding a $433 million surplus right now. And yes, they do it by cutting down programs that are completely unnecessary.

But, according to the New York Times article, “Cutting Costs the Montana Way,” they also don’t just cut workers left and right. As author Brian Schweitzer said, “But as in any good organization, many of the best solutions for cutting costs come from state employees … So when we cut the state payroll, I cut my own salary.”

They also save money. They cut down on energy expenses. They stop the construction of buildings that may not be useful at that time period. And I don’t know about you, but any of this sounds better than cutting seven prison and mental health facilities.

Do what you have to do, Quinn, to make us as fiscally awesome as Montana … but within understandable means. Case in point: Don’t cut necessary institutions.

Tolu is a junior in Media.