Illinois really is the Twilight Zone

Bruce Rauner’s approach to government reminds me of the 1961 Twilight Zone episode in which a young Bill Mumy (Lost in Space) starred as a small child who terrorized Peaksville, Ohio, with the capricious use of absolute power. It was an allegory about 60s dictators who, with no one to rein them in, behaved like children. It may well be the most terrifying Twilight Zone episode ever.

Little did Rod Serling know that, 55 years later, his thesis would resonate more than ever!

Mumy Twilight Zone

In an effort to consistently move the budgetary goal posts and do his damndest to make Donald Trump look rational, Bruce flew out of bed at 3 a.m. last week to summarily shriek, “Aha! It must be a property tax freeze!” And he came to this compelling conclusion despite the fact there’s no basis in reality for this kind of thing and it will never happen.

But instead of telling the emperor he forgot to wear his pajamas, just like those completely cowed Peaksville residents, Bruce’s GOP foot soldiers simply stuttered, “It’s a really good thing Bruce. A really good thing!” You see, no one wants to tell the Governor the truth because he’ll get mad and banish them to “the cornfield.”

Of course, anyone with a sixth-grade education already understands that, until the state changes the funding mechanism, our school districts are forced to primarily rely on property taxes. And since that same General Assembly insists on piling on the unfunded mandates, they’re forced to regularly raise those taxes.

Not only that, but the cost of doing business inexorably rises, good educators deserve raises and there’s always the next capital expense.

To a lesser degree, municipalities and counties face the very same conundrum, which is will be greatly exacerbated as the State voraciously eyes a larger piece of the income and motor fuel tax pie.

So please tell me, how are school districts and non-home rule towns supposed to make up the shortfall?

This is nothing more than the typical magical and immature Republican thinking in which you always get your way and nothing on this planet ever has any bearing on anything else.

C’mon! I know that State Reps Steve Andersson and Keith Wheeler know you can’t wave a magic property tax freeze wand without some sort of serious local consequences that might make things worse than they already are. But instead of being the adults in the room, they go along with this silly stunt.

Wheeler

Keith Wheeler

But wait! There’s more!

Everybody blames Illinois Democrats – I’ve never been fond of supermajorities – but the truth is, of the 8 surrounding states, only Indiana has a lower income tax rate. It’s only when you combine property and income taxes that Illinois really shines.

And who’s responsible for collar counties enduring some of the highest tax burdens in the country? That’s right! Republican school boards, city councils and county boards!

There isn’t a single Democratic governing body within the confines of DuPage, Will, McHenry, Kendall and Grundy Counties. And in an ironic twist, in Kane and Lake Counties, the Aurora, Elgin and Waukegan school boards and city councils are far more fiscally conservative than their Geneva, Wheaton, Yorkville or McHenry counterparts.

Emboldened by a conservative electorate with the attention span of a gnat, these “good” Republicans built fiefdoms and went on the kind of spending spree that makes the Kardashians look like Ebenezer Scrooge. And their Springfield Republican brethren failed to call them on it because they wanted their support.

Andersson2

Steve Andersson

No! The Illinois GOP was so busy pandering to their base with social issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and attacking the black president, they’ve managed to accomplish absolutely nothing fiscally meaningful.

Meanwhile, Speaker Madigan developed the kind of ground game that wins elections under almost any circumstances. I keep asking, but no Illinois Republican can tell me when they’re gonna start beating the Speaker at his own game. That’s the real challenge folks!

Not only did this Democratic supermajority took 30 bleepin’ years to build, but the taxes levied by Illinois Democrats pale in comparison to what local Republican boards have done to our bank accounts for decades.

So suddenly a governor with a second-grade negotiating mentality comes along and says he’s gonna change it all within a year? Right! I’ve said it before, political goals can only be achieved through a series of win-win compromises that slowly move toward the greater good.

And Steve Andersson and Keith Wheeler, two of the most intelligent politicians I know,  know this. Steve’s quick House rise doesn’t surprise me one bit. Trust me!  No one understands political realities more that I do, but when these two get out in front of an abject impossibility like a property tax freeze, it’s a very disappointing proposition.

Meanwhile, U-46 schools will be shutting down around Thanksgiving.

Guys! Stop pointing fingers at the Democrats, tell the Governor he’s full of manure and start being the leaders we elected you to be.

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