Sunday, February 15, 2009

Taking Governors’ Names off Signs

It’s one of the most visible ways to waste state government money — the name of the governor plastered on roadside signs and office doors, an exercise in gubernatorial ego-building that has to be redone every few years. These signs can also become an embarrassment if the governor becomes an embarrassment, as recently happened in Illinois, whose governor Rod Blagojevich was removed from office after he acknowledged that he had not set his personal interests aside when making decisions for the state.

Now the new governor and state legislature want to eliminate the practice. House Bill 286, to remove all state officials’ names from state signs, has been approved by a committee and seems likely to pass.

There is reason to hope that a few other states might copy Illinois’s example. In boom times, a legislature would have trouble fitting a bill like this into its schedule, but when money is tight, a quick, simple way to save a state perhaps $25,000 a year, that also has a good symbolic value, can look like a very good idea.