Sunday, October 3, 2010

Quinn's Costly New “Infrastructure” Project Threatens Small Businesses

A disturbing report from The Conservative Magazine of Illinois highlights not only the wasteful spending of Governor Pat Quinn, but also point out that the government wants to compete with small business owners that provide internet services. On September 18th, 2010, Governor Quinn announced the start of a state wide internet infrastructure program funded by both federal stimulus and state tax dollars. The program calls for installation of high-speed fiber-optic broadband infrastructure in nine Illinois counties, including LaSalle, Ogle, Lee, Whiteside, Jo Daviess, Carroll, Stephenson, Winnebago, and Boone. This single project will cost a total of $70 million, including $17 million from Illinois Jobs Now and $46 million from the Stimulus package. This pricy package is expected to create a whopping 485 jobs. This is just one of 17 different fiber-optic infrastructure projects planned for the state of Illinois, and is only a picture of what is happening in many other states simultaneously. “Investing in state-of-the-art information and communication networks is a great way to strengthen our economy,” Governor Quinn said. “Illinois has won over $240 million in federal broadband funding to date, funds that will connect Illinois homes and businesses, and put thousands of people back to work.” This project has been billed as internet service for rural areas. In reality, even in the most rural of areas, internet access can be obtained through satellite dish via private companies. There are multiple providers in this state who provide internet access through these means. It is also curious that Quinn has allotted $5 million in cash from the state budget for a similar project to be completed in the city of Chicago. While the grant money is currently going to a handful of individual companies and municipalities for installation, we are not currently aware of the strings that may be attached to this new service though its funding means. This huge project could potentially create a new internet service provider on the market -- the federal government. Calvin Coolidge said it best, "No plan of centralization has ever been adopted which did not result in bureaucracy, tyranny, inflexibility, reaction, and decline." Another disturbing thought: What will happen to the small business owners who currently provide internet access? Perhaps the worst detail of all is the fact that this project takes a pile of cash from an already in-the-red Illinois budget. The expected state contribution is $48 million. See the regional distribution breakdown: For more stories like this, subscribe to The Conservative Magazine at