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The Capitol Connection
The College of Public Affairs and Education and the Center for State Policy and Leadership, University of Illinois Springfield
Public Administration

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  • Image of 3 Public Administration students in call and header, School of Public Management and Policy

    Last Chance to Register for the Railsplitter’s Banquet

    You are invited to attend this in-person event located at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum at 212 N 6th St, Springfield, IL 62701, with Federal District Court Judge Brian Stacy Miller as the keynote speaker.  Help celebrate the public service award recipient.  Registration ends March 24th.

  • Image of 3 Public Administration students in call and header, School of Public Management and Policy

    You Are Invited to the Railsplitter’s Banquet on March 31st

    You are invited to attend this in-person event located at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum at 212 N 6th St, Springfield, IL 62701, with Federal District Court Judge Brian Stacy Miller as the keynote speaker.  Help celebrate the public service award recipient.

  • Photo of The Honorable Brian S. Miller, Federal District Court Judge on announcement of Railsplitter's Banquet, March 31st, 2023

    Announcing the 2023 Railsplitter's Banquet on March 31st

    You are invited to the 2023 Railsplitter's Banquet on March 31st, 2023 at 6:30pm featuring guest speaker Federal District Court Judge, The Honorable Brian S. Miller.  Sponsored by the UIS School of Public Management and Policy.

  • Book cover image:  "Forecasting Government Budgets"

    Forecasting as (Fallible) Science and Art

    Given the high level of uncertainty in the world now, forecasters should definitely admit that they have less of an idea about the potential outcomes in the economy than they usually would.

  • Flyer for the Youth Evolvement Summit - July 1st - 9:00am - 2:00pm - Springfield High School

    Investing in Youth – Youth Evolvement Summit & Job Fair on July 1

    UIS students and alumni are playing important roles in a collaborative community effort to host a Youth Evolvement Summit to be held at Springfield HS on July 1.

  • Aerial view of the UIS Campus with the UIS Colonnade in the foreground and the UIS Student Union in the background

    UIS to host Midwest Public Affairs Conference

    On June 23-24, the UIS College of Public Affairs and Administration is hosting the 2022 Midwest Public Affairs Conference (MPAC) and this year the theme is “Designing and Running the Innovative Public Service Agency.” 

  • Photo of Dr. Junfeng Wang.  Text:  Congratulations to Dr. Junfeng Wang!!  Dr. Junfeng Wang has been appointed the Academic Program Lead for the Masters of Public Administration Program in the UIS School of Public Management and Policy

    Dr. Junfeng Wang appointed Lead for MPA Program

    The School of Public Policy and Management at the University of Illinois Springfield congratulates Dr. Junfeng Wang on her appointment as Academic Program Lead for the Masters of Public Administration Program.

  • Graphic of the Capitol on the edge of a cliff

    The $195 Billion Challenge: Facing State Fiscal Cliffs After COVID-19 Aid Expires

    Join an exclusive webinar to discuss the forthcoming issue paper:  The $195 Billion Challenge:  Facing State Fiscal Cliffs After COVID-19 Aid Expires, part of the State and Local Budgeting in the COVID Era Issue Paper Series, on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at 11 a.m. EDT.

  • Photo of DeJoie Simmons, MPA & GPS Intern

    MPA- A Master of Plentiful Activities

    Research shows undergraduate students benefit immensely from active participation in on-campus activities, so why shouldn’t the same be true from graduate students?

  • Photo of Jennifer Haegele-Ryterski, 2019 DPA Cohort

    STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Jennifer Haegele-Ryterski, 2019 DPA Cohort

    Jennifer Haegele-Ryterski is a DPA student in the 2019 cohort who has been working with DPA Associate Director Dr. Sean McCandless on better understanding the experiences of people identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ+) in the criminal-legal system, particularly in probation.

  • Dr. Kenneth Kriz, Distinguished Professor of Public Administration, in front of the UIS Student Union

    The Economy at the Start of 2022

    The economy at the start of 2022 can be summarized by the proverbial glass-half-full or glass-half-empty scenario. In this blog post, I will attempt to summarize the current data on the national, state, and regional economy, address concerns that continue to plague the economy, and summarize forecaster’s best guesses about what the economy will do for the rest of this year and into 2023.

  • Photo of Dr. Kenneth Kriz, Professor of Public Administration and image of a graph showing the Change in Net Position as a Percentage of General Revenues,  Illinois and Other States, Fiscal Year 2010-2020

    The Financial Condition of the State of Illinois

    Analyzing the financial condition of a large organization like the State of Illinois is a complex task, to put it mildly.  But in the following few paragraphs, we will try to describe the financial condition of Illinois at the end of the last fiscal year.

  • Photo of a bridge under construction

    President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: What State and Local Policy Makers and Practitioners Need to Know?

    President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Job Act is a bipartisan law passed in November 2021 is essentially equivalent to a 5-year capital improvement program financed by the federal government and implemented by state and local governments. 

  • Dr. Bob Blankenberger with DPA Candidate Annie Brooks (DPA '19)

    CPAA Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Bob Blankenberger, SPMP

    CPAA Faculty Spotlight on Dr. Bob Blankenberger, Associate Professor of Public Administration in the UIS School of Public Management and Policy, whose research interests are focused on educational policy, program evaluation, and how to improve educational attainment.

  • Jean-Pierre Lucas, MPA 2019, School of Public Management and Policy

    J.P. Lucas, MPA 19’: A Peruvian-American Budget Analyst

    Jean-Pierre Lucas earned his MPA from UIS in 2019 - the MPA enabled him to connect theory and practice by linking his experiences in the classroom with his work in a state agency.

  • Image of Dr. Betsy Goulet

    CPAA Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Betsy Goulet, SPMP

    CPAA Faculty Spotlight:  Dr. Betsy Goulet, Clinical Assistant Professor, Public Administration & Child Advocacy Studies Coordinator

  • Photo of graphiti "For All"

    Accountability for Social Equity

    At the end of 2021, I am again reminded why public administration is so important and because of this, it is critical that public service agencies must be accountable for social equity.

  • Public Administration faculty making presentations at ABFM conference in Washington, D.C., 9/30-10/2

    Budget & Finance Expertise: UIS Public Administration Professors Participate in ABFM Conference in Washington DC

    Six Public Administration faculty members presented at the the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management (ABFM) conference in Washington, DC, from September 30 to October 2, 2021. 

  • Collage of photos of DPA Graduates and Students in article

    UIS Perspectives: Inspiring professionals as agents of change

    The Doctor of Public Administration (DPA) program at the University of Illinois Springfield is one of only a handful of professional "public affairs" doctorates throughout the country. The program is a door opener to a variety of career paths as we seek to inspire and equip students to be more effective agents of change.  Read more in this SJR column by Dr. Travis Bland.

  • Researching the Relationship Between Military Service And Public Service Motivation

    As I was preparing to retire from my military career, and focus on my civilian career in Human Resources, I started the Doctorate of Public Administration program at University of Illinois Springfield.  As I began the program and considered potential research topics, I began to focus on a way to leverage my military experience with a relevant human resource-related concept. 

  • Stop Complaining, Stop Blaming Others, & Look in the Mirror

    You're the cause of many of your own problems in the workplace.  Ouch! It hurts, but it is the truth. You are the cause of many, if not most, of the problems you experience in the workplace. By the way, so am I.

  • Illinois Police and Fire Pension Funding Challenges by the Illinois Municipal League, UIS Institute for Illinois Public Finance, and UIS College of Public Affairs and Administration

    Illinois Police and Fire Pension Funding Challenges

    View this video presentation on "Illinois Police and Fire Pension Funding Challenges".  The video is part of the Illinois Municipal Policy Journal (IMPJ) Webinar Series. In this presentation Dr. Beverly Bunch, UIS, and Amanda Kass, UIC, present their research which was detailed in the December 2020 volume of the IMPJ.  The presentation is moderated by Dr. Kenneth Kriz, UIS.

  • Photo of the Innovate Springfield Building in Downtown Springfield above a photo of the UIS Colonnade with yellow flowers in the foreground

    Exploring UIS’ Relationship With Springfield

    Through my coursework in the Doctor of Public Administration program I had to opportunity to do an independent study with Bruce Sommers, the Executive Director of Economic Development and Innovation.  I was charged with investigating the best practices in corporate and community engagement by colleges and universities and identifying colleges/universities that have optimized town/gown relations for the commercialization of technology. 

  • Photo of an African American man reading a business newspaper at a desk

    A Teachable Moment: Public Spaces Are Not Public

    There are two Americas. The myth and the reality. The shining city on the hill, beacon of hope and justice, and the other America bound by discrimination and despair.

  • The Status of Black Lives Matter: A shift in Policy, Culture, Justice, and Reform - A video presentation.  Images of four preserters.

    The Status of Black Lives Matter: A Shift in Policy, Culture, Justice, and Reform

    As part of Black History Month, this panel discussion by African-American faculty and staff from the University of Illinois at Springfield, Tessica C. Dooley J.D., Assistant Professor in Legal Studies, Dr. Ty Price Dooley, Associate Professor in Public Administration, Dr. Tiffani Saunders, Lecturer in Sociology/Anthropology and African American Studies, and Justin J. Rose, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, will encourage students and the general audience to learn about societal issues including policing, healthcare, housing, and other economic disparities in the African American community, in twenty-first century America, that inform and led to the formation and evolution of the Black Lives Matter Movement.  

  • Illinois state Capitol in Springfield in January with snow on the ground

    Time for the State of Illinois to Stop Using Debt to Finance Current Services

    One of the basic tenets of governmental budgeting is that current services should be paid for with recurring revenues rather than one-time funds, such as debt. In a study of state budgeting practices, the Volcker Alliance rates Illinois as one of the three worst states in terms of relying on one-time budget maneuvers (Volcker Alliance, 2020). This practice pushes a portion of the costs of current services onto future taxpayers and makes it more difficult to balance the budget in future years.  This blog describes the types and magnitudes of debt that the State of Illinois has used to pay for current services and calls for a plan to stop this practice.

  • Dr. Arwi Srithongrung-Kriz

    Alternative Approaches to State Budget Cuts: What does Budget Theory Suggest?

    Now that Illinois voters rejected the Graduated Income Tax Amendment, the next logical question is how the state will balance its budget for fiscal year 2021 and beyond. While there is room in the state’s borrowing authority with the Federal Reserve under the Municipal Liquidity Facility (MLF), a larger concern is that much of this deficit is not due to COVID-19 related revenues and expenditures, but due to a long standing mismatch between state revenues and expenditures, a problem that the graduated income tax proposal was supposed to address. Borrowing this way would get the state through the immediate budgetary challenge, but what happens in FY22 and beyond?

  • Image of downtown Springfield with the Capitol in the background.

    A Customized Approach to Maintain Good Financial Condition for Illinois Local Governments

    During the pandemic, state governments in the U.S. have experienced dramatic declines in revenues.  In addition to the current budget situation, the states face economic uncertainty in future fiscal years about the path of the economic recovery. However, Illinois had already been running structural deficits over several years prior to the outbreak. The combination of that structural deficit and pandemic driven revenue shortfalls have created extreme fiscal stress for the state.   For local governments, one of the main concerns is that the state may cut state aid as a part of its budget balancing strategies.  In this post, we suggest a set of bespoke strategies for Illinois local governments.     

  • Image of Tesla coil lights

    Setting Policy in a World of Science

    Since COVID-19 debuted in our world, there has been no end to politicians, pundits, and social media sirens crying out something along the line of “we are following the science” or “because the science says so” as they support one new policy or another or to bring down one political view or another.  As professionals who set, guide, and lead public policy, we need to start asking questions of “show me the science” or “where does the science say this” when we are faced with the never-ending barrage of “because science says so” claims in relation to public policy.

  • DCFS Child Protection Poster

    Can you see me? Children in the Shadows of the Pandemic

    In March, schools sent children home and students across Illinois and the nation sequestered in their homes where they attempted to continue their schoolwork remotely, in front of their computer screens.  Before too long child advocates nationwide observed an alarming trend – significant decreases in calls to child abuse hotlines.  States reported precipitous drops – upwards to 50% in some states. 

  • Downward trending chart with COVID 19 Viruses

    The Economic Impact of COVID-19

    The coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) and associated COVID-19 disease pandemic have wrought tremendous damage to the world's health. But the pandemic, and the public health mitigation policies brought on by it, have wrought an equally large amount of economic carnage.

  • Photo of empty classroom

    Effect of K-12 instruction types on reported COVID-19 cases and deaths in Illinois counties

    Few decisions made by state and local governments in response to the coronavirus pandemic have affected families as much as decisions about K-12 instruction types – whether to provide in-person instruction, online-only instruction, or a hybrid of in-person and online instruction. Decisions about instruction types this fall have varied widely across states, counties, and school districts, partly because of differences in COVID-19 case metrics and partly for other reasons, including political differences.

  • Photo of a downtown street from the Illinois Municipal League website

    Illinois Municipalities Face Difficult Decisions during COVID 19 Pandemic

    Six months ago, the world was a completely different place. The American economy was growing. Families were regularly coming together for birthdays, weddings and other special occasions. The 1,298 cities, villages and towns throughout Illinois were providing regular and critical services to support the health, safety and welfare of their residents.

  • Photo of windmills among grain fields

    Ushering in the New Clean Energy Economy

    It was hard to miss the attention-grabbing headline last month: “California Governor Signs Order Banning Sales of New Gasoline Cars by 2035” (NPR, September 30, 2020). But is the internal combustion engine about to go the way of the horse and buggy within the next 15 years? That much remains to be seen. But with little doubt, California is ushering in a new era of green technology, and it is government “driving” the market, not the other way around.

  • Photo of two people shaking hands

    Politics Suck: Can I get an amen?

    Now, do I have your attention? Good, but this article is not about Donald Trump or Joe Biden.

    It’s about you. It’s about me. It’s about us.

    It’s about the type of office politics that we all engage in that undermine the health of our workplaces and our own futures.

  • Image of business man entangled in red tape

    Fed Up with the Status Quo: Read This

    Look around your organization. Are you amazed at just how resigned everyone is to the status quo? Does the seeming acceptance of mediocrity bother you?  Despite severe environmental pressures, are the people around you behaving in obviously ineffective ways that could be threatening the very survival of the organization?  The problem is that most organizations are incapable of learning or changing themselves in response to experience (i.e., the discrepancy between expectations and results).  So what is the solution?

  • Dr. Ty Dooley, Associate Professor of Public Administration

    Race, Housing and Equity

    When we examine housing policy in the United States today, we find huge disparities along racial lines in terms of home ownership, the value of property, and the ability to obtain a mortgage.  These disparities still exist even when accounting for things like geographic location, down payment, and income.

  • Woman working on laptop at home with family in the background

    Many of Your Employees are Miserable: Three Reasons it Could be Your Fault

    Look around you, how many of your employees are fully engaged or immersed in their work? How many seem to be finding fulfillment or joy in what they do?  Now, how many of your employees are apathetic and, at best, grudgingly complying with directives and carrying out their roles and responsibilities?

  • COVID and its Impact on Higher Education

    In our article recent article for Administrative Theory & Praxis “COVID and the Impact on Higher Education: The Essential Role of Integrity and Accountability”, we discuss challenges facing postsecondary institutions due to the COVID crisis and the critical roles that institutional integrity and accountability will play for postsecondary institutions in the COVID era, as well as the importance of embracing the role higher education plays in advancing social equity.

  • 2020 Reset: Do not give up on the year just yet …

    We recently past the 2020 half-way point. Have you given up on your hopes and dreams for the year? Do you feel like the goals that you set for this year are no longer possible? Have you settled into a wait-and-see pattern, and now just trying to tread water? It’s understandable. After all, we all tend to move toward urgency, and we are still dealing with a global pandemic.

    For many of you, it is time for a reset. Many of you need to pick a direction and start swimming so that your long-term goals do not drown (i.e., die) along with your yearly goals. 

  • Economic Update July 2020: The Shortest? And Deepest Recession in Generations?

    At the time of this post, the United States economy clings is at a crossroads. The economic slowdown engendered by the coronavirus pandemic and measures to contain its spread were the deepest on record, but there are already signs that the recession may be over. There are lingering issues and pain from the recession, especially in the labor market. But there is a palpable sense that the situation may be resolving itself. However, the economy faces many uncertainties going forward. The question is whether the sense of recovery comes from false hope generated by temporarily good economic news or whether it signals a return to a “normal” economic situation.

  • Dr. Sean McCandless, Assistent Professor of Public Administration and Associate Director of the Doctor of Public Administration Program

    Taking Stock of Bostock

    Last month, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) handed down a 6-3 ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County. The central finding from SCOTUS was that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects employees based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Put more simply, an employer cannot fire an employee simply for identifying as a LGBTQ+.

  • Environmental Studies students collection trash from Lake Springfield.

    Reducing the Use of Plastic Bags: Five Lessons from Illinois Communities with Plastic Bag Laws

    This summer, we have been busy interviewing active citizens, elected officials, and public employees in five Illinois communities that have passed laws designed to curb the use of plastic bags to understand why they took an action on the plastic bag issue, how they designed their local ordinances, and what challenges they have faced during implementation.  Our research project is still in progress, but we would like to offer a sneak peek at what we have learned from our interviews - here are five things you should keep in mind if your city is thinking about adopting a plastic bag ordinance.

  • Returning to work: Here is one way to focus your energy & attention

    As you return to work, I want to invite you to wrestle with an important question. Where should I focus my energy and attention right now?  Better yet, there is a different form of this question that you should use as the starting point for rethinking how you work. On whom should I focus my energy and attention right now?

  • COVID-19: Present and Future Challenges for Education Leaders

    When Governor JB Pritzker issued a Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 12, 2020, the effects on the P-20 education spectrum were complex and far reaching.

  • We can emerge Stronger Together: Covid-19 and the places we work

    Prior to Covid-19, there were two focusing events or crises that dramatically changed my perspective on life: the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the April 16, 2007 killing of 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech. While vastly different, the Covid-19 pandemic and the upending of life as we know it since early March 2020 is the third such focusing event that I have experienced. Focusing events force us to rethink and reset our priorities. This resetting often includes a renewed emphasis on our shared humanity that falls under the mantra or rallying cry of Stronger Together.

  • The Illinois Economy and Public Finances in 2020: Difficult Challenges, No Easy Answers

    On January 15, 2020, the World Economic Forum released its 2020 Global Risks Report, which laid out several threats to world economic growth, ranking them on scales of likelihood and impact. Among the most pressing threats were climate change, extreme weather, biodiversity loss, natural disasters, cyberattacks, and manmade environmental disasters. Infectious diseases were ranked #10 on the list of strongest impacts but did not make the top 10 in terms as likelihood (World Economic Forum, 2020). But a few months can certainly change outlooks.

  • Separate and Unequal: PR in the USA Map Amid Covid-19

    Is a USA map complete in 2020 leaving out America’s populated unincorporated territories - Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, United States Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa?

  • COVID-19 Adds Pressure to the Already Stressed Child Welfare System

    Dr. Betsy Goulet, Public Administration, and Dr. Kent Redfield, Political Science Professor Emeritus, collaborate on U of I System report on the effects of COVID 19 on the Illinois Child Welfare System.

  • Covid 19 Image

    COVID-19 Case Projections for Illinois Counties

    Many researchers have already created models with projections for COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, intensive care unit stays, and/or deaths. 

    I have created a model that relies on the fact that some parts of the country are further along the growth curve of the pandemic to produce COVID-19 case projections for Illinois counties. I use data only from the 48 contiguous states, with the expectation that those states provide a better comparison for Illinois than foreign countries do. And I make no assumptions about the virus or the effects of social distancing on transmission of the virus; instead, the model’s projections are based only on the actual data from the 48 states.