The First Ward report – There ain’t nuthin’ fair about the “Fair Tax!”

The First Ward report – There ain’t nuthin’ fair about the “Fair Tax!”

And that proposition starts with the unprecedented notion that our Governor’s already spent $56 million of his inherited Hyatt Hotel fortune on a campaign for a constitutional amendment that would go a long way toward bailing him out of an insane budget crisis he refuses to truly address.

No conflict of interest there, right?

But that kind of chicanery pales in comparison the litany of broken Illinois budgetary promises that start with the initial installation of the state income tax way back in 1969. Legislators sold that proposition to wary voters by fiercely proclaiming their “flat tax guarantee” would make it much more difficult to raise those taxes going forward.

And here we are!

Do any of you remember the “Toll Free in ‘73” slogan Illinois lawmakers bandied about to sell us on the whole toll road prospect? I do! But no matter how often I close my eyes, click my shoes together, and repeat “there’s no place like home,” those I-88 toll booths are still there. And just for good measure, the Illinois Toll Authority has gone on to become one of the most corrupt entities in a state where good intentions go to die.

Then there was the Motor Fuel Tax vow that it, and all transportation user fees, would go directly toward road maintenance and similar infrastructure projects. But that wasn’t the case. Before the voters finally passed an amendment banning the misappropriation of those funds, Illinois raided it to the tune of seven billion dollars.

Remember when all that lottery money was supposed to go directly to the classroom? I do! But that never happened, either.

Throw in two “temporary” income tax hikes, one under Jim Thompson and the second under Pat Quinn, that quickly became permanent and I wouldn’t believe an Illinois legislator if their tax talking tongue came notarized. Despite their assurances, none of that “temporary” income tax money went towards Illinois’ untenable $6 billion budget deficit.

So, what could possibly make these sad, silly Springfield Democrats think I’m just gonna take their word for it and trust them on this one? Fool me five times, shame on you! Fool me six times, shame on me!

To make matters so much worse, there’s this clothes-less emperor delusion that a graduated income tax will automatically mean bunnies, unicorns, rainbows, and angelic choirs bursting into song. But as is par for the Illinois course, this “Fair Tax” is another cure that’s so much worse that the disease! And we call that cautionary tale “Connecticut,” the only state that’s adopted a graduated tax in the last 30 years.

To be fair, the Illinois Policy Institute vastly overstates that tax’s effect on that state’s already sagging economy, but what no one can dispute is their version of the “Fair Tax” created a host of new fiscal issues while solving none of the existing problems.

Those legislators similarly sold a progressive tax as the shortest route to middle class tax cuts and lower property taxes, but it didn’t turn out that way. The income tax burden on the average Connecticut family has increased by 13 percent  since their “Fair Tax” was approved, and property taxes skyrocketed another 35 percent.

So, what was once the richest budgetary state in the union now rivals Illinois as one of poorest, and their resident and business exodus nearly matches ours, too. If we’re stupid enough to ignore that cautionary tale and trust Springfield one more time, that’s exactly what’ll happen here.

But the most terrifying prospect is, in an effort to utterly undermine that 1969 promise, should this progressive tax pass, it will give the General Assembly unprecedented power to levy and raise all manner of taxes including, but not nearly limited to, the capacity to go after retirement income. And we both know that, despite their fingers-crossed contentions to the contrary, if we’re foolish enough to bestow this kind of taxing power on them, those state reps and senators will be sure to use it.

Lastly, the hypocrisy of Illinois Democrats declaring their vast “Fair Tax” virtue at every turn when the majority of them refuse to call for ComEd bribery scandal embroiled Speaker Michael Madigan’s resignation is almost too much to bear. So no! I’m not about to fall for this Ponzi scheme and neither should you! Forking over more tax dollars would be just like giving an alcoholic just one more shot of Jack because they promised it would be their last drink.

Illinois cannot buy their way out of this budgetary abyss, and until the State makes a clear commitment to pension reform and the kind of fiscal sanity that would’ve prevented this mess to begin with, it would be pure folly to trust them again.

Vote “No” on the “Fair Tax!”

 

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