Current Opinions: 01/28/15 (Click HERE for Archived Opinions):
Letter To The Editor
We send our sincerest Thank You to the Sugar Creek Township Fire Department and also Aviston and Lebanon fire departments for their response to our house fire. Through this very difficult time the support that we have received from the local businesses in Trenton has been overwhelming and their donations have been greatly appreciated. The entire community has been so kind. We also thank all of our friends, family, and neighbors, of whom there are too many to list. Your prayers and comforting, heartfelt words are very helpful and touching. Thank you to the local churches and our church families for their generosity and prayers. This has been a very difficult time for our family but we are truly fortunate that no one was hurt. We are humbled by all of the support we have received.
The Robison Family
I have taken to thinking of our newly elected Republican governor as the Great Summarizer, which seems more respectful than Captain Obvious.
It seems that in every speech he gives these days, he essentially reaffirms the massive financial problems the state of Illinois faces. So, tell us something we don't know.
So far, his program is pretty light on specifics, save some vague allusions to cutting Medicaid. It has been posited by some, including Springfield insider Rich Miller (below), that Rauner is leaving himself wiggle room to either continue or increase taxes as part of his solution, and maybe that's true. We should certainly hope so, even though it will represent a virtual 180-degree turn from his campaign rhetoric.
I think if Rauner were forced into complete honesty, he would acknowledge that income taxes need to remain at their current levels for some period of time while governmental reforms and efficiencies are first formed and then enacted. The numbers are what they are.
I've actually taken the time (and it was considerable, more than I should have wasted on it) to go back through five years' worth of comptroller's reports, prepared by the most respected Illinois pol of her generation, Judy Baar Topinka, and the Illinois books, while still not healthy by a long shot, are considerably closer to balance than they were when the income tax increase went into effect.
There has been progress, marginal perhaps, but progress. Is there inefficiency in government? Absolutely. Payrolls swollen by patronage, worthless programs as political sop, backroom dealing, general inefficiency. It's all there, and I applaud the governor for what I think are is heartfelt beliefs that politics is largely responsible.
But he goes off the rails when it comes to the traditional trickle-down theories and predictions of phenomenal commercial growth through lower taxes.
It's economic policy that hasn't worked since Reagan, and there's no evidence to suggest it ever will. I don't know how to explain the continued fealty to such a feckless strategy, other than to say it is attractive because of its perceived painlessness.
We want to believe that our financial problems can be solved with the stroke of a pen. Wipe out those nasty taxes, then sit back and wait for the revenues to start rolling in. If no one worries about the well-being of anyone else, everyone will be better off.
It seems too absurd to even suggest such a thing, but it's truly the core of neo-conservative economic ideology.
So to basically ‘double down' on such policy is to believe in magic, that something different will happen than has happened over the past 35 years.
I don't believe that's Bruce Rauner, and in my personal fantasy world he would finally come clean with the people in the state. There's too much fat in Illinois government, but taxes are necessary, and it's going to be a long, slow slog to recovery. Choking off our only reliable revenue stream will make matters worse in the near term, not better.
Not a very appealing or comforting message, but I'll leave it to the Great Summarizer to polish off the rough edges.
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