From healthcare to immigration to foreign policy, President Obama has faced robust opposition. His defenders, in turn, have labeled the critics unpatriotic, racist and mean-spirited — downright scoundrels who would poison the planet and harm the middle class and the poor.
But what about this trade deal with the Asian countries? The president, and rightly so, wants to open up foreign markets for the benefit all Americans, even corporations. But now his traditional supports — not his usual detractors — oppose him. Does this make them unpatriotic, racist and mean-spirited? Or are they just exercising their God-given right of freedom of speech under our Constitution?
Mike Simon, Glen Ellyn
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Put corn in gas tank
E15 ethanol is environmentally accepted, cost effective, mechanically safe and sound and good for Illinois business. This is a corn state. Corn products are found in cookies, crackers, soups, sauces and many more processed foods — where they should not be. But ethanol, also a product of corn, does belong in the gas tank. E10 ethanol has been blended with gasoline for decades. The time for E15 has come. It will reduce our nation’s need for petroleum.
Kathie Newhouse, Hyde Park
Film biz subsidies no ‘gift’
The June 14th “Watch Dog” article “Hollywood on the Lake”, and the follow-up article on June 15th refer to the Illinois film tax credit program as a “Gift to Tinseltown”. By definition, the term “gift” means something given without expectation of anything in return. In this case, it’s application is entirely inaccurate since as the articles point out, $204 million in tax credits have generated $2.8 billion in expenditures to Illinois businesses and salaries to Illinois residents.
Also inaccurate is the statement that Illinois taxpayers stand to loose $204 million. While projections may not be readily available for the various state and local taxes generated from $2.8 billion in economic activity, clearly the state has recouped a significant portion of the tax credit award amounts. Personal and corporate income tax; state, county and city sales tax; hotel taxes, vehicle rental taxes; a 9% Chicago tax on the rental of all equipment – all have combined to largely if not completely offset the state tax credit awards.
Accuracy is not an issue with the sampling of individual expenditures contained in Monday’s article. As it demonstrates, TV series, movie and TV commercial production expenditures are made across a wide gamut of businesses and are quickly absorbed and re- circulated through the local economy. However, the listings appear to include the salaries paid to several ordinary, private individuals identified by name. Making that information public, especially when it’s not in the context of some type of potential wrongdoing, is an unacceptable abuse of personal privacy and we strongly urge the Sun-Times to not allow a repeat of this practice.
Not mentioned in the article is the fact that Georgia and Louisiana have been experiencing levels of TV series and movie production two to three times what we have in Illinois. The reason is their incentives make eligible the salaries of non-residents, including the often multi-million dollar payments to directors and star actors. Unlike those states, the Illinois incentive limits salary eligibility to only Illinois residents and capped at $100,000. In so doing, it maximizes the state and local tax revenues generated per dollar of incentive. In addition, unlike business incentives that may require up-front costs on the promise of future long-term company operations (a promise too often unfulfilled), the film tax credit is based entirely on actual, realized economic activity.
The Sun-Times should applaud this incentive as one that is actually generating positive results at a rational cost, not label it a “gift”. The gift is to the state’s and Chicagoland area’s working people.
Illinois Production Alliance
Association of Independent Commercial Producers – Midwest
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