I grew up in Chicago, have read the Sun-Times for most of my life, and it wasn’t until now that I realized that there are actually two Chicagos — something like a science-fiction movie where two things inhabit the same space but in different dimensions.
Friday, we read about rich Chicago planning to improve Lake Shore Drive. It didn’t give a price tag, but it didn’t give any indication that money would be an issue. After all, the state would be contributing to the project, and we know how much money the state has.
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Tomorrow we’ll probably read about the other Chicago — the one that is billions of dollars in debt, that is always borrowing money to pay for its day-to-day operations, that can’t pay its pension funds, that can’t pay its school budget, that is constantly looking for more money, higher taxes, more things to tax.
Politicians believe their job is to spend money — if they are not spending money, surely their constituents must think they aren’t doing anything. So they spend now and ask questions later. They spend and spend until the debt gets so large they feel compelled to ask for a tax increase. And when that happens, they tell you that without the increase old people will die, the poor will go hungry and schools will close.
I’ve lived in Wilmette my whole life and in the same house for the last 50 years. I don’t want to move out of the state, but I feel abused by politicians who believe they have a right to take as much of my money as they can.
Larry Craig, Wilmette
Preckwinkle fails at making the right choices
Yes, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is correct that fiscal responsibility requires making tough choices. But it also requires making the right choices and that is where she fails.
For many decades I have heard politicians of both parties say that if taxes were not increased, they’d have to cut vital programs — they never talk about cutting the fat. So when Preckwinkle said she would have to cut vital jobs, I had serious doubts. When I started working, the state managed fine with a 2 percent income tax. Now even the current 4.95 percent will not be enough.
We, like many families, have eliminated cable/satellite TV. We, like many families, have eliminated traditional landlines for Voice Over Internet Protocol. And now Ms. Preckwinkle will force many families — including ours — to give up soda because her tax makes it too expensive. What’s next? Must we move into a smaller dwelling so we can afford the rising property taxes?
How many more sacrifices must we make to satisfy bloated local governments and school systems? When, oh when, will state and local governments, including Chicago Public Schools, learn to live within their means?
Howard Klopp, Norwood Park