•July 12, 2017•
By Jim Nowlan
NP Guest Columnist
Retired politics professor Ken Redfield and I sat in the cafeteria of a gray, Soviet-style 1950s state office building in Springfield this past week to ruminate about a book we are doing on Illinois over the past half-century.
We are intrigued by the idea that our state’s post-2000 dysfunction may have been prefigured over the decades by a mix of economic, institutional and political changes.
As thinkers from Seneca in ancient Rome to A. Lincoln have observed, “All that’s past is prologue.”
Why the past half century? We enacted a new state constitution in 1970. Modernizing governor Richard Ogilvie came into office in 1969, enacting the income tax and expanding state government. State economic decline relative to the nation accelerated about then, as shrinkage in our rich manufacturing jobs base began to show. And significant net out-migration of whites became evident.