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Fixing Illinois: Politics and Policy in the Prairie State
by James D. Nowlan and J. Thomas Johnson
University of Illinois Press, 2014
Paper: 978-0-252-07996-2 | eISBN: 978-0-252-09635-8
Library of Congress Classification JK5716.N678 2014

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK
In the 1950s, thriving commerce, strong leadership, and geographical good fortune made Illinois one of the most envied states in the nation. Today, persistent problems have left it 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, including:

  • An overhaul of state pension systems that includes more reasonable benefits and raising of the retirement age, among other changes;

  • Broadening of the tax base to include services and reductions in rates;

  • 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.


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