Our View: Show wasteful spenders the door

Published: Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013 5:30 a.m.CDT

Illinois state leaders are notorious for making decisions behind closed doors.

They must be beaming now that the state Capitol building has hugely expensive new doors for them to hide behind.

How expensive? Three sets of ornate, custom-made, copper-plated wooden doors cost Illinois taxpayers nearly $670,000.

$670,000!

Katie, bar the door.

Such extravagance is mind-boggling in a state with so many financial problems.

Illinois owed more than $6 billion in unpaid bills to vendors as of July 1. The state’s public pension system is underfunded by a staggering $100 billion. Schools and social service agencies have suffered because of late state payments. Illinois’ credit rating has plummeted.

However, those woes weren’t enough for leaders to shut the door on a $50 million renovation project at the Capitol Building.

It is part of the $31 billion capital construction program approved in 2009 by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Pat Quinn.

The public got repaved roads and repaired bridges. State leaders got to spend $50 million on their digs in Springfield.

Along with doors costing nearly $670,000, the Capitol project includes more than $323,000 for four chandeliers and nearly $160,000 for two sculptures of maidens at a staircase. Huh?

We understand the need to keep state property in good repair. What we don’t understand is why people like Gov. Pat Quinn, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton have tin ears regarding such lavish expenditures.

Their offices tried to deflect the blame to the Capitol architect and his committee. We don’t buy it. Nothing happens in state government without Quinn, Madigan and Cullerton agreeing to it. Responsibility clearly should be laid at their doors.

The question remains: What will the public do?

Voters can keep re-electing spendthrift leaders. Or, they can show them the door – an ornate, custom-made, copper-plated wooden door, to be precise.

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