Illinois Tax Increase - Throwing a Log Chain to a Drowning State
I won’t attempt to fully explain the case for tax cuts, as others have succinctly and powerfully made this argument. For anyone who can spare 30 minutes, use your favorite search engine to find “JFK’s Speech to the Economic Club of NY”. (For those too young to remember, his plan worked - in spades!)
In the case of Illinois, some data has to be examined to make some sense of our economic tsunami:
From 2000 to 2009:
Household median income loss; 21%
Manufacturing job loss; 35%
State revenue increase; 35%
State spending increase; 80%
Illinois population increase; 3%
It’s clear from the steady decline in household income that Illinois has been in a recession for at least the last 10 years. Yet, with declining income and flat population growth, state revenue increased 35%. Part of this was due to “back door” taxes. Remember when you could buy a used car without paying sales tax? Now, if a car is bought and sold a couple times, the State makes more money on the car than the manufacturer! Remember when you could make a deal on a new car and pay tax on only the purchase cost? Now, if you get $6500 knocked of the sticker price, you’ll pay tax on the car, and the $6500!
Much of the rest is due to increased taxes and fees on businesses, whom I like to call “employers”. I heard on the news this week that Illinois has dropped to the 47th most business-friendly state. This clearly explains the loss of 35% of our manufacturing jobs. Mitch Daniels touts Indiana as a “Destination” economy for business. Our politicians need to boldly proclaim Illinois as an “Exodus” economy. Job loss is not accidental, our state government created this mess (with a little help from their friends). Since manufacturing jobs tend to pay far above the median income, losing jobs at this pace means median income drops proportionally.
Which leaves spending. With little population growth, and minimal inflation, spending increased a mind-boggling 80%. Our governor announced the other day that, without a tax increase, he’d have to lay off 26,000 teachers. While some layoffs may be justified due to declining enrollments and increased productivity (that means doing more with less - it’s a private sector concept, alien to state workers), 26,000 sounds a bit high, governor. Does this mean you still haven’t laid off all the drivers for state beaurocrats? Do state IT professionals monitor employee computer usage (again, a private sector concept) to help determine which jobs are unnecessary? Has anyone analyzed university research programs?
In order to de-politicize research, there should be no government funding for any of these programs. Others have suggested that there won’t be any money for police. How about enacting a concealed carry law? The well-documented drop in crime would make a slight reduction in police manning possible, as well as saving lives and property. How about the $8,000,000,000 in executive orders enacted by your predecessor? Why haven’t any of these been rescinded? Is anyone addressing 6-figure state pensions? Government pensions need to be locked to private sector pensions. Additionally, the practice of salary “bumping” to artificially increase pensions needs to be abolished.
And while I’m on the subject, no elected official or political appointee should ever receive a pension - these are supposed to be public service, not careers.
Every program needs to be examined with a bright light. If I want to learn to garden, I’ll ask a neighbor, check out a book, surf the Web, or pay for a class. If you want to learn to garden, do the same. If you think I should pay for your gardening class, and I catch your hand in my pocket, you’re losing a hand! Governor, if you’re incompetent or unwilling, admit it, and step aside to make room for someone who can do the job. There’s really no shame in not being able to undo decades of cronyism and corruption.
Illinois is in a death spiral. Job loss is driving workers (taxpayers) to other states, which leaves a smaller base to tax. Raising taxes is a time-proven method to create job and population exodus, so what options are left? We could borrow Indiana’s budget, with compensation for population, miles of roadway, etc. If we used to spend more on an item than Indiana, too bad, it’s history. If you don’t like that idea, use the Illinois 2000 budget, adjusted for inflation and population growth. This would leave about a 30% surplus. After eliminating employer taxes and fees (we simply can’t afford to be #47 any longer), any remaining funds should be used to re-fund pensions. It will take years to get employers back to Illinois, but eventually, their return will grow the tax base, allowing further tax reductions, in turn attracting more employers.
Or raise taxes and enjoy the ride - a death spiral might be like that ride I remember from Busch Gardens. Probably not as much fun, though.
As required by law, the State of Illinois will redraw its legislative boundaries next year following the 2010 census. In the past, the boundaries have been gerrymandered by the politicians in power, whose only goal in redrawing the maps was to keep their seats and their power. Districts ended up slithering across the state, sometimes covering hundreds of square miles, but only a block wide in some places.
Not only does it make people not want to vote, it makes people feel like they can’t even compete for office. In fact, the way the maps have been for the past ten years, incumbents have won 98% of the time.
But the Illinois Fair Map Coalition (IFMC) wants to change all that. IFMC is advocating an independent commission that would redistrict the state’s legislative boundaries without regard to incumbent party or voting history. The districts would be equal in population, and compact in geographical layout--no more alleys connecting parts of a district.
I encourage people to get involved by signing the IFMC petition--over 290,000 signatures of registered voters are needed by May 1 to get the law changed in time for the 2012 election cycle. Contact stop by our office to sign the petition by Friday, March 19. Let’s make the voting process in Illinois a little more equitable for everyone.
Larry Alexander, President
Carroll County Farm Bureau
Take 10 for 10 in 2010!
This is the slogan for the US Census Bureau. They suggest that you take 10 minutes to answer 10 questions in 2010. March 2010 to be exact.
Many times we feel that as individuals we have little say about what happens in our government. This may be true in some instances but not when it comes to the census. By filling out the census form and sending it in on time you will have helped your community in a very important way. Money from the state as well as federal government is often allocated based on your community’s population. For your community to receive the monies that it is entitled to, YOU must be counted. The federal government will disperse approximately 400 billion dollars to local schools and taxing bodies in part due to the census.
Yes, YOU! Each and every one of you is very important. This is one of those times where you need to stand up and be counted. Your local government depends on you to fill out the form and return it on time. Some of you may perceive that some of the answers will tell the government more than you want to reveal about yourselves. The government, by law, will hold the information confidential for the next 70 years.
It is also important to know that filling out the census is the law. That’s right, it is the law. In fact, if you fail to send in your form the census people will be knocking on your door. The government takes this census very seriously and so should you.
If you are having any trouble with filling out the form in any way please contact someone in your local government. City clerks, aldermen, trustees as well as mayors and village presidents are there to help you.
Once again, I stress that you do count and your local government is “counting “ on YOU! Take 10 for 10 in 2010.
Village President of Shannon, IL
In the March 3, 2010 issue of the Prairie Advocate News, an item in the article entitled “Mt. Carroll City Council Takes Care of Business” needs clarification regarding the water main break at the Campbell Center.
“The Financial Committee discussed what to do about the leak of 317,000 gallons at the Campbell Center. It was discussed that the practice is to charge 10%, or 31,700 gallons, to the Campbell Center this month and then to charge $10,000 to businesses and residents for the first month while the leak is being fixed.”
In a note from Mt. Carroll City Clerk Julie Cuckler on behalf of Mayor Carl Bates, she confirmed that it is the policy of the City “to charge for up to 10,000 gallons (not dollars) for customers that have had a large usage noted, due to a pipe break, stool running, or water softener malfunction, on the first month of the leak. After that they would be charged for the usage on the meter.”
The Prairie Advocate News appreciates this clarification, and regrets the error.
In the March 3, 2010 issue, the article entitled “Local Physician Named Medical Director at Pleasant View,” Rhonda Biller, Administrator of Pleasant View, “has been with the Petersen Health Care, Inc. network since February 2007, at another facility, and joined Pleasant View in October 2008 when the network acquired it,” not Dr. Denice Smith, as was printed in the article.
The Prairie Advocate regrets the error.
By Jim Sacia, State Representative 89th District
We, as legislators, are often asked to participate in discussions with organizations that travel to Springfield to lobby. Such was the case on February 24th, as I, along with my good friends Dan Brady (R-Bloomington), Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook), Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley) and Dan Reitz (D-Steeleville), made up a panel to discuss our state budget situation with the United Counties Council of Illinois (county board members and chairmen from across Illinois, and yes, our counties in the 89th district were well represented).
As is typical, we each made a brief presentation, then it was opened up for questions. Frustration was at the forefront of the discussion. No one was interested in asking us questions. Instead, they preferred to take us to the woodshed and have a “do better” talk with us. You get the drift – “It’s all your fault we’re not getting our money.” It really was rather caustic and I think showboating was taken to a whole new level to the applause of others in the group. I was very proud of our local county representatives, however, who kept it professional.
One clever lady, in her attempt to cheapen us, added up all of our years in the General Assembly and determined that our more than sixty years total of service merited immediate replacement. Here’s what she missed, Deputy Leader Frank Mautino, the House Democrats chief budget negotiator, spent nearly twenty years driving a beer truck. If you doubt his qualifications, talk with Stephenson County’s Public Health Director, Craig Beintema, who knows him well. Simply put, he understands and works the budget with brilliance.
Dan Reitz spent seventeen years underground as a coal miner. Does he get it? You bet he does. Like me, he never sees “D” or “R”, he just wants to find a way to fix it.
Dan Brady, many years a coroner and funeral director, has seen it all. He works in a profession where everyone’s life, rich or poor, ends with the same common denominator. He sees people daily who are dealing with the ultimate hurt, the loss of loved ones. His constituents and their needs are his passion.
Elaine Nekritz was first elected with me eight years ago. She is a lady I hold in the highest esteem for her competence and dedication. She chairs the railroad caucus and is a tireless worker for her constituents. Yes, I was honored to be a part of this panel.
My point here is simple, our nation is in a financial crisis, and certainly our state, counties and municipalities are as well. Clever cheap shots and finger pointing may provoke a few chuckles and scattered applause, but accomplish nothing. It took us a long time to get this far in arrears and we can’t crawl out overnight, but I assure you, I couldn’t be working with finer people in our attempt to fix it.
I’ve written before of when I was newly elected being told “I’m proud of you Jim, but don’t ever become one of them.” Well, the friends mentioned in this column are just a few of the men and women I serve with. Each one proudly serves his or her district. If that makes me “one of them,” I deserve the title
As always, you can reach me, Sally or Barb at 815/232-0774 or e-mail us at email@example.com. You can also visit my website at www.jimsacia.com. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you.