Citing a need to modernize the state’s bureaucratic infrastructure and reduce costs, today Governor Bruce Rauner announced a $62 billion plan to move the state’s capitol to Chicago.
“Let’s face it, Chicago is Illinois,” he told a stunned capitol press corps inside the 127-year-old Springfield rotunda this morning. “We’ve been here [in Springfield] since the 1880s. You wouldn’t believe the roaches in this place. The roof leaks, there’s no cell service in the basement rooms where the deals are made, and the plumbing! Oh, God, don’t get me started on the plumbing!”
Rauner’s office released a 404-page document outlining how the move would happen, and how he intends not only for it be done at no cost to taxpayers, but to actually save money. “This is entirely a money-saving measure,” he noted. “It puts the politicians, the bureaucrats, and the public servants back in Chicago where they can better serve the companies that put them in office in the first place.”
A section of the moving plan outlines a potential $1.5 billion per year that could be saved in transportation costs alone. Helicopters for senior officials, Uber Black service for middle managers, and personal car reimbursements for peons adds up to $42 million per year. Mr. Rauner noted that was only the beginning. “Now we don’t have to subsidize that godawful Amtrak service between Chicago and Saint Louis. I mean, seriously — a train? What am I, a hobo?”
Reached by phone for his reaction to the plan, House Speaker Michael Madigan answered the phone by immediately saying, “I’m against it. It’s bad for Illinois, bad for the taxpayers, and it’s bad for my constituents, whoever they are,” before a reporter could even ask a question. When the Associated Press attempted to explain to Mr. Madigan that there is a plan to move the state capitol, he interrupted with, “Is it Bruce’s plan? Then I’m against it. I don’t know what it is, but I will do everything in my power to block it and then blame the other side.”
Reached for comment between emoji-filled text messages with the White House, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, “Downtown? South Side? Who cares? As long as he doesn’t mess with my Ravenswood, it’s all good. Hey, that rhymes! Who’s turn is it to be police chief this week?”
The new capitol complex will be located in what is now Monroe Harbor. A team of lawyers chose the site because it’s currently underwater. It would have to be drained and filled in, much like the bulk of Grant Park was nearly 200 years ago after the Great Chicago Fire.
“If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Friends of the Parks, it’s that if you reclaim land from Lake Michigan, it’s automatically state property,” said Illinois state attorney Loyola DePaul, referring to the litigious community group. “No one can object because we’re putting up state buildings on newly formed state land. Go ahead and sue. We’re the government. We’ll keep you tied up in court till your grandchildren are in Depends.”
As for the existing capitol in Springfield, Mr. Rauner proposes turning portions of it into a museum. He said other parts could be sold off. “Have you seen Ohio’s capitol building? It’s round, but it’s got no dome. I bet they’d pay a pretty penny for a slightly used dome. And I’ll throw in the rotunda for free. Someone get Kasich on the horn.”