Economic outlook bleak, but hang in there

Since Blagojevich was impeached, we’ve all let out deep breaths and the clouds seemed to disintegrate. But there are still plenty of clouds in our sky, and they’re not evaporating anytime soon.

Illinois is in a huge budget crisis, and it should come as no shock to anyone that a few months with a new governor can’t reverse the damage that has been done. People are touting bills Gov. Quinn has passed, such as the reopening of the historic parks, but they fail to realize how bad the Illinois economy is. Illinois ranks fifth in the nation in foreclosures. In the country, Illinois ranks 39th in the growth of income per capita. According to the Pantagraph, 8.6 percent of the workforce (more than 570,000 people) in Illinois were unemployed in February, which is the largest percentage since 1983. We also rank 48th on overall economic performance, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council. If you call that dreary, gear yourself up for this: In economic outlook, Illinois ranks 44th.

At most, Gov. Quinn will be able to give Illinois the fundamental tools to succeed. He might not be our governor long enough to use those tools, but laying the right foundation is almost as important, if not more, as implementing the actual strategies later on.

We have a long hole to crawl out of.

So while we’re headed toward relief with a new governor, we’re nowhere near close. Media outlets have been giving us a false sense that everything is going to be OK soon, and we’ve naively slipped and believed it once in a while, either because we wanted to or sometimes needed to. But now is no time to forget the reality of the situation.

There’s a long road ahead of us. Hang in there.