Admit it, Missouri. You have Illini Envy.
We all grew up in the shadow of the Lincoln State.
We grew up frustrated that the Black Hawks have won Stanley Cups while the Blues end every season in frustration.
Everybody in the world knows where Chicago is. And that it’s in Illinois, the Land of Lincoln. Missouri’s a little hit-or-miss on geography quizzes.
But Missourians have a chance to make St. Louis look a lot more like Chicago. Make Missouri look a lot like Illinois.
What Missouri needs is our own Missouri mega-city. Like Chicago. Like Los Angeles. Like New York. Like Miami.
Of those cities, those examples of mega-cities that can dominate their state’s legislation, Chicago is the best example.
I bet if you talked to people in Illinois who live outside of Cook County you’ll find one thing in common.
Sure, they’ll complain about the state’s 32% income tax hike and its crumbling finances. They’ll worry about the massive corruption in the state capital. They’ll gripe about all the crime and bounced checks from the state. But they’ll rally around one point.
Everyone in rural Illinois loves Chicago! Proud as little country peacocks!
Illinoisans love sharing their resources with one of the biggest, most famous cities in America. They love the fact that Cook County makes all the decisions for everyone throughout the state. Chicago even decides for people in lowly Cairo! Because Cook County makes all the decisions, people in outstate Illinois are free to focus on their own problems. Like how to pave their roads without any money, or how to keep businesses from leaving the state in droves.
You want all that for Missouri, don’t you? To be just like Illinois?
Well, you can. Soon.
The St. Louis city fathers have a plan to merge St. Louis City and St. Louis County into one gigantic political unit that can dominate Missouri legislature and culture.
Right now, they’re using the phrase “better together.” And they’re right! If St. Louis City and County merge, the St. Louis region can pretty much ignore the rest of the state. (More than we do now.) We’ll have the population and economic power to finally tell KC to get lost. Jackson County might as well secede and join Kansas.
Sure, Springfield, Columbia, and Kansas City will lose a lot of power and influence. But at least people in those cities won’t have to worry so much about what St. Louis is up to. They won’t have to worry about St. Louis because they won’t be able to stop us.
I’ll bet that within four years of the City-County Merger, every Missouri Supreme Court judge will come from the St. Louis region. Plus, St. Louis will be able to pull tax dollars out of the rest of the state. We can build new ballparks and arenas. Green bike trails everywhere. And we’ll be able to pay off St. Louis’s massive unfunded debt liabilities using dollars from rural areas.
Plus, St. Louis Democrats will FINALLY be able to pass some Chicago-style gun-control legislation for the state.
The point is, I think people who oppose the City-County merger are missing the valuable lesson Illinois teaches: we can make St. Louis into the new Chicago. We can make St. Louis County into the new Cook County. And we can make Missouri into the new Illinois.
When the City-County merger hits the ballot, I hope our outstate Missouri neighbors will do what’s right for the St. Louis region. Making St. Louis more like Chicago is way more important than little towns in Dent County having some influence in Jefferson City.
It’s time for outstate Missouri to stop thinking about themselves. Time to think about what’s good for St. Louis.
St. Louis First!