Illinois Picks Easy Corruption Target: College Students

The horror of making it easier for students to attend Illinois colleges is abated now that the Legislative Scholarship Program is gone. The program let each legislator give out two four-year tuition waivers to an Illinois public university every year. Predictably, some of the scholarships were being handed out to the children of political campaign donors.

Remaining legal in Illinois:

  • Politicians dolling out millions in special tax breaks, subsidies, and other favors to large corporate political donors (such as Tenaska’s  boondoggle coal plant that was nearly approved after the company handed out a lot of money around the statehouse).
  • The legislature found time this session to extend the Enterprise Zone Program which lets untold numbers of Illinois businesses get out of paying taxes throughout most of the state.
  • One legislator is still serving in the Illinois House after being arrested on bribery charges back in March.
  • The taxpayer-funded Office of Coal Development still has children producing Joe-Camel-style propaganda for the coal industry, without telling kids that coal is also giving them asthma attacks, birth defects, learning disabilities, cancer, and climate change.

Of all the legal and illegal forms of corruption going on in Illinois politics there’s one area where politicians took a bold stand: stop letting a small number of students have free tuition at state schools.

It makes sense. I mean, goddamn, we can’t have some socialist bullshit like people enjoying a free education at a PUBLIC university! Next think you know, they’ll get ideas like those kids in Canada and everyone will start asking for a college education that a normal human being can pay for without five or six figures of student loan debt!

Maybe, and this is a wild idea, but maybe the legislature needed a way to make themselves look good on corruption this year, and college kids make a hell of a lot easier target than the CEOs who finance political campaigns and buy lots of newspaper ads. Maybe that’s why hundreds of students won’t get free tuition next year. And, of course, that tuition will keep rising because the state can’t deal with its revenue problem either.

Plenty of politicians are patting themselves on the back for ending this nickel and dime corruption while CEOs still laugh their way to the bank with their multimillion dollar favors from the legislature. What a crock of shit!

© 2012 Willinois. This article is reproduced by permission of the author. All rights reserved.