BGA president: Tax dollars go down drain
Andy Shaw, president of the Better Government Association, called for more attention on suburban governments during his talk Tuesday at at a meeting, partially sponsored by the Franklin Park/Schiller Park Chamber of Commerce, in Rosemont. | Mark Lawton/S
Updated: June 29, 2012 8:45AM
Andy Shaw says governments need to be watched in the suburbs, not just Chicago.
“I think some of the worst practices are in the suburbs and collar counties because no one is watching,” Shaw said.
Shaw is the president of the Better Government Association. He spoke Tuesday during a meeting, partially sponsored by the Franklin Park/Schiller Park Chamber of Commerce, in Rosemont.
Much of Shaw’s talk was a pitch for attendees to join the BGA. The non-profit investigates allegations of waste, fraud and corruption in city, county, suburban and state governments.
As such, the BGA has plenty of options for its work.
“We have almost 8,000 units of government in Illinois,” Shaw said. “That’s almost twice as many as any other state in the country.
“The government grew up to feed the Democrats of Chicago and the Republican combine of central Illinois.”
Roughly $100 billion flows though various levels of government. One estimate is 10 to 15 percent of the money is corruption.
“Let’s say that’s high,” Shaw said. “Let’s say its several billion a year.
“That could be spent on better education, health care, social services, reducing taxes . . . people watch tax dollars go down the drain for things we didn’t need or poor service for what we do need.”
The BGA investigates governments and partners with news organizations to tell the stories.
In March, it investigated the former head of City Colleges of Chicago who, in spite of a decreasing graduation rate at the colleges, got almost $800,000 when he left.
In April, a BGA investigator wrote about suburban mayors who also served on the Cook County Board. The organization has also investigated police cars in Stone Park being sent to a repair shop allegedly owned by a relative of the police chief.
The BGA also conducts free Citizen Watchdog training on how people can watch their local government.