Mayor Emanuel recently announced another $200 million in education cuts, and then he raised property taxes by a half-billion dollars. But there was no mention of the corporate tax-avoiders.
We hear constantly about our state’s budget problems, the pension woes, the school cutbacks and the need for austerity measures. But Illinois lost nearly $1 billion in 2014 tax revenue to just six companies (Boeing, Archer Daniels, Walgreen’s, Caterpillar, Exelon, Abbott Labs). According to their own records, they paid just 1.9 percent of their profits in state taxes, about a quarter of the required amount. Overall, we’ve been losing up to $4 billion per year in unpaid state taxes.
It’s the children and the taxpayers of Illinois who bear the burden of reform. Illinois in 2012 cut education spending by a greater percentage than any other state, and in 2013 it was third-worst in cuts per student. And our system of taxes hits low-income families the hardest. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy named us one of the ten “Most Regressive State Tax Systems,” with the third-highest “Taxes on the Poor.”
Corporations are the main beneficiaries of our infrastructure, modern technoloCgy, and security. Yet they’re sending most of the bills to the homeowners.
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Let the eat tuna!
I saw no humor in Gov. Bruce Rauner’s recent trip to the famous Paulina Meat Market in Chicago, detailed by Mark Brown in his column on Sunday. As the nasty budget dispute between Rauner and Mayor Emanuel drags on, Rauner attempted to replay Emmanuel’s prank of once sending a dead fish to his political opponent. So which fish did our budget-slashing governor choose to make his point? A modest herring or a discount-priced tilapia? No! Tuna Steaks! Possibly the most expensive, overfished and unsustainable fish species, a fact apparently lost on our unseaworthy governor, who seems dead set on solving Illinois’ financial problems on the backs of the poor and disabled. “Let them eat Tuna!”
Leslie Borns, Lakeview
I stand with John Fountain
Reading this Sunday’s paper, I was moved and felt the need to stand up along with columnist John Fountain. Really great writers will have that effect, and he writes in such a way that is almost musical at times.
This Sunday, John’s voice was simmering anger with great sorrow, which I felt deeply. It was in regard to a reader’s complaint that uneducated druggies produce children who are animals. John wrote about what it is to wear a skin that is black. The skin I wear is very light and freckled, yet I feel that his words and feelings transcend color and speak to what it is to be human. The problem is that we aren’t evolved enough to understand that we’re all the same under the skin.
I learned this important idea during my first semester in medical school when taking gross anatomy. When we die, except for gender, we all leave exactly the same shell. John Fountain’s anger and sorrow were because the color of skin determines how human beings are treated, and I agree with him: “Black Americans live in jeopardy of ‘false truths’.” He asked about the young black girl in South Carolina who was thrown across the floor by a white cop: “What if she were your daughter?” My skin isn’t black, but we are all human beings, members of the human race. I link my arm in John Fountain’s, as I stand up and declare, I too am an animal.
Melanie Lee, MD