I eventually want to move home. Living in New York with two kids and no family doesn't seem like a plan for long term success. Howsoever, Illinois has some SERIOUS issues that I need to consider before I make that move home. We might have to pick somewhere Chicago adjacent (or at least with good Southwest "Wanna Get Away" fares. That way folks can visit on the weekends, but my family can escape the #realissues. Here are some things that are disturbing me about Illinois and Chicago as a whole.
10. Broken budget - Illinois does not pay their bills. This is nothing new. When I've worked with nonprofits, if they had a grant from Illinois, it might have gotten paid, might not have. But NOW with Bruce Rauner as the governor, it's become PRACTICE to not
9. Cutting social services - I know programming for AIDS/HIV support have been cut since Bruce Rauner got in office.I know because this is a cause I care about. I'm sure lots of other social services have been cut, too. It's a mess.
8. Charging for prison stays - If someone who used to be incarcerated gets a windfall of money (a settlement of any kind), then Illinois sues them for room and board. I could write a whole post on this, but if convicted felons can't find jobs and can't even keep money they win in settlements, then how can they STAY out of prison. People need to be able to make an honest living.
7. Cutting higher education funding - Now, democratic governors have done this, so I expected any republican to come in and spend big bucks on education. Not so. Bruce Rauner, not ONLY cut funding to schools directly, but he cut grants and asked for the money back from students who got them. No way that's legal.
6. Chicago State Layoffs - Did they really lay off 300 staff (1/3 of the staff) at Chicago State? Can we have ANYTHING?
5. Corrupt Government - Our last 3 governors have been to prison for corruption. What kind of foundation is laid for excellence in this state?
4. Cost of living - A friend looking for a house (you know backyard, basement, 2 stories) commented that "If it's in a safe neighborhood, it's too expensive. If it's affordable, it's not safe." This is a real issue as I need to consider my kids playing in the streets and school districts, etc. I'm sure the suburbs aren't much better.
3. The traffic - My mom lives off of 290... the Eisenhower. She's clearly the most important person we would be visiting. Who wants to take that expressway ever? No one. It's the pits.
2. The cold - Seriously. When you find out that you don't have to have 9 months of winter, your living prospects are SO much better. Maybe I'll just move to Arizona or Texas and have more space for family to visit.
1. The violence - [A high school classmate noted and rightfully so that] violence is ingrained in Chicago culture. It's not just this urban violence we see on CNN. The very NATURE of the city is built on crooks, liars, organized crime and ice cold killers. People have manners because they are afraid of getting killed.