Monday, January 31, 2011

No Room for Rahm

In today's Chicago Sun-Times editorial page, the paper endorsed Rahm Emanuel for mayor of Chicago.

I guess the job is now his for the taking.

As they say in the Spanish-speaking parts of the world, "Jesu Cristo."

That's exactly how I feel. To me, he's just an extension of the Daley Machine. Another powerful white guy who can be bought and sold by the highest bidders, advancing his own agenda, making lots of dough for his friends, and not really looking out for my (our your) best interests.

Then again, that's probably true for the non-white guy that I'll be voting for on Feb. 22.


Maybe y'all should just vote for me. I need a good gig, anyways.

So it goes...

photo stolen from

Sunday, January 9, 2011

My Letter to Gov. Quinn

I wrote a letter to the governor today concerning the new tobacco/income tax hikes. I had questions as well as ideas for potential solutions (you can't just bitch, ya know.) Feel free to copy this and send it to him on your own behalf.

Governor Quinn,
I am troubled by the income tax increase proposal on the table. During the most recent election cycle, you campaigned for a hike from 3% to 4%, not to 5.5%? I supported that proposal and voted for you. I'm reasonable, educated, and intelligent, so I saw the need for this increase. But not that high. Please explain.

Secondly, the proposal for a $1-a-pack tax increase on cigarettes was not part of your platform at all. It just unexpectedly appeared. I'd like you to explain that as well.

I understand why such a group-specific tax would be proposed: it's easy to target smokers. Smokers are an already vilified group. Smoking in public is banned virtually everywhere. Obviously, one could argue, with good reason: smoking is bad, second hand smoke is bad, etc, etc. Nobody would deny that. Even I would not deny these facts. But...

This sends a mixed message: (1)smoking is bad and the citizenry is not responsible enough to decide FOR THEMSELVES whether or not to allow smoking in public establishments, so the government has made that decision for us. (2) The truth of the matter is that our regressing financial situation completely DEPENDS on smokers and the (projected, not actual)revenue that can be generated from said group. To put it bluntly, they're an easy target that won't squawk. This is an obvious fact, since this was the only group-specific tax on the table.

You can't really have it both ways.

Thirdly, what kind of transparency can we expect as a result of the state's new found (potential) windfall? Basically, what are we going to get in return for all of this money? We want to know. All the time.

I would like to urge the governor's office to consider additional (not just other) solutions for our budgetary woes.

For example, why not raise the tolls for I-Pass users. They pay 40cents, while cash payers pay 80. Why not raise it to 50cents?

What about raising beer and liquor taxes?

Or raising the tax on sporting events (Bears playoff tix, on the low end are $200. That's face value, not scalper (ticket broker) value. What's another, say $20?)

Another idea I have is to allow a limited easing of the smoking ban. Perhaps you could offer a tobacco license for 10% of the total amount of taverns/bars in the state. Of course, these business owners would have to pay for that license (extra state revenue), but, all things being equal, they would also be generating more money for their own business, which also means more tax revenue for the state. An easy win/win situation.

Casinos should most certainly have the ban lifted, if it is, in fact, true that Indiana is reaping major benefits from Illinois' smoking ban.

One must assume, also, that Indiana will end up selling a lot more cigarettes to Illinois citizens as well. What potential ramifications would that have on the projections?

Thank you for your time. I eagerly await your response.
So it goes...