Illinois Leaders Doing Same Things, Expecting Different Results


I actually wrote this February 18, 2016. Unfortunately, nobody learned and the State actually took a step backward last November. They’ve already passed a $15 minimum wage law and are looking at what the new Governor claimed he wouldn’t consider, a per-mile road use tax on personal vehicles. Read on…

Dear Springfield,

Driving back from lunch the other day I was listening to the radio news guy talking about the current Illinois budget impasse. In case you’re not up to speed on this, our new Governor and the State Legislature are at a stalemate as one wants more taxes and the other sees the need to cut spending and streamline inefficiencies. The State is running big deficits and is experiencing a reduced credit rating as the result of overspending and near sighted programs costing far more than originally estimated.

Well, it suddenly occurred to me that the situation is very similar to how I was able to get my Barracuda to ultimately run 2.5 seconds faster in the quarter mile without throwing big money at it.

Before I lose the non-race fans out there, just stick with me for a while. Drag racers will understand (if not already) where I’m going with this in a couple more sentences, but I guarantee even the feeble minded will see the logic before a couple more paragraphs!

In the winter of 2000/01, I built a new engine with lots more power than the original and decided to go drag racing with a couple of fun organizations. This would enable me to showcase a product I was charged with marketing and selling at the time, along with introducing a bit more fun into the job. I put a combination together that would, at least on paper, run with an index range that seemed to contain the best odds of winning, by statistics at the time and without breaking the bank. Using data from solid, reliable sources, this engine in this car at the weight it was should run at a certain performance level.

Then I went to the track. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. The thing couldn’t get out of its own way!

Here’s where the comparison begins.

Now, it was clear I needed to perform drastically better if I had any expectations of success. I had two choices. I could just keep doing everything the same and live with the status quo, continue to spend money on travel, entry fees and other expense with no return, or I could research and try different things like engine timing, shift points, gear ratios, tire pressures, suspension settings and on and on in an attempt to tune the car into its maximum performance. None of these would require big investments to accomplish. In the racing world, this is called “tuning.” Through the next couple years, I tried all of this and more. Some ideas and adjustments worked, others didn’t. When they did, the car went faster. When they didn’t, they were logged in the “don’t do that again” file and saved for future reference. Ultimately, the car actually ran a quarter mile in 2.5 seconds less and almost 15 miles per hour faster as the result of changes, none major, that were thought out, tested and executed based solely upon results.

Sometimes those changes met with negative reaction by some who actually knew quite a bit about what I was doing. In particular, I determined the carburetor was far bigger than what the engine needed. The experts told me unanimously what I proposed wouldn’t work. From past experience I actually knew better as both the math and application had been used in a previous car several years prior. That single modification resulted in the biggest performance gain of any single change throughout the program. The company GAVE me the component as the result of my success.

That’s the point.

In Illinois we have a legislative majority that has built the state into the situation in which it is in. When economic times reduced its income, they just kept going on business as usual without any changes except to raise taxes and throw more money at the problem. Now we have a governor with new ideas similar to my gear ratios, shift points and other changes, but the “experts” simply demand to continue down the same path.

Someone asked me a few days ago why the legislature, and especially Mike Madigan are so resistant to the Governor’s ideas. I see this in a nutshell. Ego. That’s correct, folks, ego. These guys are afraid the ideas might work! When they do, they fear they will be put to shame by those of us who haven’t made careers on the backs of taxpaying, hardworking every day Janes and Joes who make the state actually tick. They will be shamed that actually trying something else, something the experts say can’t work, makes the state richer, more successful and economically inviting again to businesses and residents.

Here’s the deal, folks. You can keep raising and/or maintaining the current confiscatory level of taxes, but at the present rate companies and residents are leaving, no amount of tax hike burden left on a dwindling number is going to produce the revenue that larger numbers paying lower amounts will provide. A small percentage of a lot will bring far more than a big percentage of a few.

Simply put, its time to streamline, take the wasters to task and get back to the values of service to the community! We don’t work for you, Springfield, you work for us! Its time you start acting the part and get your jobs done! Just because this is “the way its always been done” doesn’t mean its the way that will continue to work. Just ask that huge automotive gasket company in Skokie [Fel-Pro] where they would be today if they had insisted on staying in the felt horse blanket business!

How about it? Get to work, Springfield. We’re tired of your B.S! Get done what needs to be done to increase performance and get us up into the Winner’s Circle!

Wake up, Illinois! Holy Horseshnzzxyt! Where’s the Tylenol!

Mike Tritle

Editor’s Note: This letter does not necessarily represent the views of DeKalb County Online.


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