MDH SAYS: Follow the money

Voters should make learning candidates’ economic views a priority

Published: Friday, March 16, 2012 1:04 p.m.CDT

Many economic indicators are starting to look better.

The Grundy Economic Development Council, for stories on the economy appearing in the Friday edition of the Morris Daily Herald, reported active inquiries from businesses interested in locating in Grundy County are more than double those from the same time last year.

Interest in renting commercial space in the county is also increasing, according to information from the Grundy County Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The unemployment rate in Grundy County has sunk significantly from its high point of 12 percent in 2010.

Across the United States, according to Greg Rivara of the Illinois Department of Employment Security, repeated monthly job losses have been replaced by modest increases in new jobs from month to month. However, there is still much to be done in order to completely right the economy.

Gasoline has climbed over $4 per gallon in recent days, and some predict it will reach $5 per gallon before summer comes to a close.

The state of Illinois is still deep in debt and remains many months and thousands upon thousands of dollars behind in making payments to all sorts of entities – from schools to health care facilities – that are sorely in need of the missing funds to continue providing the necessary services they offer.

Locally, there is much debate about how money should be spent at the county level, and many projects requiring state and federal involvement (and cash) that could help bolster local economic conditions if they were allowed to go forward. Specifically, the GEDC has identified the widening of Illinois 47 through the length of the county and the expansion of the county’s two Economic Development Project Areas.

With this mixed – and, at times, seemingly contradictory – collection of economic realities, we at the Morris Daily Herald believe that the economy, and specifically how individual candidates intend to help foster and hasten the slow recovery that has mercifully begun, is clearly one of the most significant issues in Tuesday’s primary and the General Election that will follow in November.

We encourage each would-be voter to closely examine where the candidates stand on the economy and how they prioritize the potential methods for helping to lift the county, the state and the country out of the financial funk that has lingered for many years.

Do the Congressional candidates want to alter Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security? How do candidates in the Democratic primary for State Senate feel about the widening of Illinois 47 or forced school consolidation? Which county board candidates support the spending that led to Wednesday’s opening of the county’s new 9-1-1 dispatch center?

In an effort to aid our readers in answering these questions and otherwise weighing where the candidates stand, and thus making informed decisions on whom to throw their support behind, the MDH asked each of the candidates in contested primary races a variety of questions, many of which were related to the economy, job growth, wise spending of public funds and how to retain (or, perhaps, earn back) the public’s trust.

Answers to some of those questions, along with brief biographical information about the candidates, has appeared in the Morris Daily Herald on a daily basis for the past week (concluding today). However, for the past month, all of this information and much more has appeared in a special Election Central section of the MDH’s website, www.morrisdailyherald.com. We encourage each would-be voter to spend some time with this week’s newspapers, at the very least, and on the website … and anywhere else, for that matter, that they can gather as much information about the candidates as possible.

There are a number of ideas about how to balance budgets, stimulate job growth and even how to advance some of the GEDC’s identified priorities that are being discussed. Some you will agree with and others you may not like, but unless you know what each candidate supports, you will not know where to throw your support.

Above all, though, no matter what your stance may be on the issues or which candidates you choose to back, make sure you exercise your right to vote on Tuesday – or before. After all, it doesn’t matter how well informed you are if you do nothing with the knowledge you have attained. ———The Morris Daily Herald Editorial Board is led by Publisher Gerry Burke and editors Patrick Graziano and Mark Malone. It makes its editorial decisions in consultation with other members of the Herald staff.

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