Illinois government has been stuck in a rut for going on 18 months now, and much of the attention has centered on the fight between Governor Bruce Rauner and the Democratic leaders in the General Assembly.
But as in any democracy, it’s the people who are ultimately in charge. And in Illinois, the people are giving politicians contradictory instructions.
That is one of the conclusions of a new analysis of the roots of gridlock in Illinois.
Co-author John Jackson, with the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, says part of the problem is that politicians have long failed to confront voters with the difficult choice between higher taxes and steep cuts in state services.
"It’s not like you can absolve the people, though," Jackson says. "There’s plenty of information out there, and sometimes the media do a very good job of pointing out that there are going to be real problems."