ON POINT

Power Politics

Richard Koritz
Posted 6/13/19

Power Politics

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ON POINT

Power Politics

Posted

Power Politics was in action in Illinois this past week. Whether you love or hate3 what the legislature and governor did last week, you have to give them credit for the fine art of power politics. The Illinois legislature is solidly in the Democratic column. The Democrats have super majorities and the Republicans have been neutered. Give Governor Pritzker and Speaker credit for giving all of us a true lesson in power politics. Pritzker and Madigan clearly voiced their priorities and the legislature gave them what they wanted. Great politics, but at what cost to the people of Illinois.

REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS (a/k/a the abortion bill)—While many states have been passing legislation to limit abortions, Illinois has become or will become the lead advocate for abortions. The bill that passed is by all accounts the most liberal abortion law in the country. Late term abortions are allowed and the policy of the state is now to strongly support those who desire to have an abortion. One of the early arguments for abortion was that the fetus was not viable and therefore without rights. News articles last week were talking about the smallest baby known to have survived a premature birth. The irony of that child’s birth and the legislation that allows for late term abortions should not be lost on the public.

STATE INCOME TAX—This passed the legislature and Pritzker has vowed to sign the bill. It then has to be voted on next year by all of us as it is a Constitutional amendment. Pritzker states he wants to tax the rich and the bill has heavy taxes for those who exceed $250,000 a year in income. However, for the vast majority of us earning less than that amount the savings are negligible. If you earned the $250,000 amount your savings, by my calculations would be approximately $50. The state is spending a lot of money in its efforts to save us that fifty and tax the heavy earners. Guess what?. They can and will leave Illinois and then our taxes will rise anyway. 

Recreational Marijuana—The legislature got on this band wagon without a rule book, and that is the problem. With alcohol there are objective tests to determine if one is under the influence. Those tests are lacking for marijuana. My cynical self sees someone smoking a blunt in their car and through the haze of either the smoke or the THC in their system they plow into a group of kids. What someone does in the privacy of their home is not an overriding concern of mine, but what they do behind the wheel of a car or while operating equipment is of great concern. This bill is woefully lacking in safeguards.

SIN TAXES—We have new casinos coming to Danville, Chicago and southern Illinois. Sports betting will now be allowed. Marijuana was mentioned above and cigarettes are still here. The legislation severely taxes all of the above to pay for state programs.  Smokers will be taxed an additional $1 per pack. These taxes in all honesty are not going to affect me, but they are going to affect the lower income people of Illinois. Again, the talk is progressive, but the reality is these are regressive taxes.

TRANSPORTATION—Our roads and bridges need much needed repairs and resurfacing. The new tax is 19 cents extra on a gallon of gas. If that truly goes for roads, it may well be a good use of money. However, Springfield has a history of moving funds around and things just don’t get paid for. Your car registration is also going up $50 a year. Again, this is a regressive tax, the kind of tax the Democrats said they don’t want. This tax will diminish the value of all large SUVs that get poor gas mileage. This tax and the cigarette tax will have a very negative impact on retailers near the state border. People will simply purchase these items when they cross the state line.

A friend of mine put all of this in perspective when we chatted on Sunday morning. He said he had been on Facebook and had seen a response to the new Illinois legislation and how the Illinois slogan could be changed. I would give credit to the author, but I have no idea who it is. The comment: Illinois is known as the Land of Lincoln. The author would change that slogan to—Illinois: The home of the stoned to the bone and the taxed to the max. Think about that for a while.