If 2019 was Act I of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s new life as an elected official, then 2020 lays before him as an Act II, in which the protagonist politician must slay the forces of ethical impropriety and illegal conduct that have laid siege to our state government.
Judged purely on the basis of his legislative record, 2019 will be hard for Pritzker to match. He logged a boffo success, broadening legal gambling and pot smoking, passing a proposal to introduce a graduated income tax and rounding up votes for a $45 billion infrastructure bill.
Pritzker and all of Illinois now face 2020 with the blot of a federal corruption investigation darkening the landscape. Even some of last year’s accomplishments, like the big infrastructure bill, might be retroactively tainted. This presents challenges for the Illinois governor — and also an opportunity for leadership that he has so far been reluctant to seize.
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David Greising is the president and chief executive of the Better Government Association, joining the BGA in 2018. For nearly a century, the BGA has fought for honest and effective government through investigative journalism and policy advocacy.
Greising’s career started at the City News Bureau of Chicago, with stops at the Chicago Sun-Times, Business Week magazine, the Chicago Tribune and Reuters. He was a co-founder of the Chicago News Cooperative and worked briefly as a consultant to World Business Chicago. Today, Greising writes on government issues in regular columns for the Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business.
Under Greising’s leadership, the BGA has played a key role in uncovering public corruption amidst the wide-ranging federal probe, starting with an in-depth report about Ald. Ed Burke’s conflicts of interest before the federal charges against Burke. The BGA also has exposed waste and fraud at O’Hare and the proliferation of corruption and poverty into Dolton, Lyons and other Chicago suburbs. The BGA’s policy team has led calls for ethics reform in Chicago’s City Council and in state government.
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