Greising: Pritzker Must Step Into Leading Role in Reforming Illinois Government. The Moment Demands It.

After federal investigators raided the offices of Sen. Martin Sandoval, D-Chicago, Pritzker lamented that the alleged wrongdoers were “throwing obstacles in the way of us accomplishing pension consolidation and lowering taxes, property taxes and other things in the state."

(Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

BGA President David Greising writes every other week for the Chicago Tribune Opinion section.

If 2019 was Act I of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s new life as an elected official, then 2020 lays before him as an Act II, in which the protagonist politician must slay the forces of ethical impropriety and illegal conduct that have laid siege to our state government.

Judged purely on the basis of his legislative record, 2019 will be hard for Pritzker to match. He logged a boffo success, broadening legal gambling and pot smoking, passing a proposal to introduce a graduated income tax and rounding up votes for a $45 billion infrastructure bill.

Pritzker and all of Illinois now face 2020 with the blot of a federal corruption investigation darkening the landscape. Even some of last year’s accomplishments, like the big infrastructure bill, might be retroactively tainted. This presents challenges for the Illinois governor — and also an opportunity for leadership that he has so far been reluctant to seize.

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