Ill. legislators rarely know what laws cost...and why you should care

February 15, 2012

If you're like us, you probably assumed (if you thought about it at all) that Illinois legislators routinely provide intelligent guesstimates of what their legislation costs. That presumption turns out to be wrong. A new report said that less than two percent of bills passed last year had a price tag, or in legislative parlance, a fiscal note. In a perfect world, state government would assign an independent agency to crunch the numbers, resulting in more transparency and cost savings. States like Texas and Washington do this. In Illinois, that responsibility is given to agencies with a vested interest in the legislation.

Later today on Eight Forty-Eight, Michael Leachman with the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities will talk about how fiscal notes work and why so many states fail to provide them. We swear it's a budget conversation that won't make your eyes glaze over!

Also, DeRo fans, take note: listeners get to call in and ask WBEZ blogger and Sound Opinions co-host Jim DerRogatis questions. Anything and everything rock-related (and hip hop and pop-related) is on the table, so do not hesitate to seize this singular opportunity. The number is 312.923.9239.

And, the city of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is working on a new cultural plan. The last time they did this Harold Washington was mayor, so it's kind of a big deal. DCASE Commissioner Michelle Boone and Alison Cuddy will give the details.