Bad Jailhouse Math Blues

The State of Illinois is a meth-addicted 12-year-old son with your credit card: absolutely no fiscal sense whatsoever, but you love them too much to abandon them on the side of the road like you ought to.

So it is for me, watching my former state borrow, swindle, and sell their way into an incredibly deeper hole. And all the while, Governor Pat Quinn and his Goon Squad actually think they are at least treading water. As I’ve already shown that the higher leadership in Chicago doesn’t understand math, it is up to reformed-Hoosier and math-novice Brian Gross (#hisgrossness) to set things straight.

Take the recent sale of the Thomson Correctional Facility on the far border with Iowa (which is an ingenious location. Tell the prisoners that they are surrounded by a sea of corn and the occasional obnoxious Iowa State Fan and they’ll be clamoring to stay in). The State of Illinois recently sold the prison, which was not being used, for $165 million, to the U.S. Federal Government. Perfect, get some liquidity for unused state facilities, sounds like another state I know (#Windiana).

But let’s look at the numbers. The Prison was built in 2001 for $140 million. Cool $25 mil profit, right? Well, no, because $140 million 2001 dollars are worth $181,575,172.41 (inflation is a b*tch). So immediately it’s more like a $16 mil loss. And how much does it cost just to maintain an empty prison? If it’s anything more than negative moneys, the total loss is much higher.

Furthermore, the Thomson Prison was valued at $220 million. For those of you playing at home, that is in fact more than $165 million. Pat Quinn, are you writing all this down? Someone get him a calculator.

Am I mad at the Obama administration for swindling the state out of a great facility just because Obama is buddies with Dick Durbin? No, because who can blame him, or anyone, for taking such a great deal. I feel like I can start offering cash for the Bean and see if they bite.

Quinn said to reporters, “I think we ought to pay our bills with that money.” Well I’ll be damned. What bills, Pat, you mean the bill for the unused prison? Our meth-addicted son just hocked his $300 guitar for $200 and calls it gain. Can you tell the difference?

Currently, Illinois’s unpaid bills total $8.5 Billion. The sale of the prison probably won’t cover the interest of that debt for twenty minutes.

As a fiscal move, I decided against building a prison and then selling it. I didn’t lose the State’s taxpayers $16 million. Can I have some of that money I saved?

In the end, the wind bags in Springfield will mark this down as their fiscally disciplined good deed for the year and pat themselves on the back as they keep on mortgaging Illinoisians’ futures. In the meantime, get in while the getting is good: let’s start the bidding on the rest of Illinois’ infrastructure!

Brian Gross

Brian is an escaped Illinoisian, and so can you! He is offering refuge to runaways, just read his posts and tell everyone about it.


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