Letters: The people of Illinois are not Rauner’s employees

SHARE Letters: The people of Illinois are not Rauner’s employees

In big business, more and more companies tote million-dollar CEOs who hire high-paying managers to help turn companies around in time of crisis. Using workplace bullying, a series of acts of intimidation, abuse of power, and degradation, current subordinates either follow or fall. Lower-paid employees are let go or walk out after being overworked and disrespected.

These workers and their families lose their income, their health insurance and their options. In many cases, they become the state’s problem and the taxpayers pick up the bill. The CEOs are rewarded with huge incentive bonuses for cutting waste.

Governor Rauner, the state of Illinois is not a business. The state legislators are not middle managers. The people of Illinois are not your employees. When services are cut to the elderly, the disabled, and the disadvantaged, they don’t become someone else’s problem. They don’t go away.

Arlene Salamendra, Plano

SEND LETTERS TO:letters@suntimes.com (Please include the name of your neighborhood or suburb, and a phone number for verification.)

Illinois will stall without greater state transportation investments

Recently our friend and colleague from theIllinois petroleum marketers and the convenience store industry, Bill Fleischli, distributed a column opposing any increased taxes to fund transportation improvements in Illinois.The Transportation for Illinois Coalition does not condone or defend past actions by state government, which used transportation dollars to fill operating budget holes. But, we cannot let those past mistakes be used as an excuse not to fix today’s problems. In fact, just the opposite — it is precisely because of the mistakes of the past that we need to change direction now and establish stable, reliable and adequate funding for core transportation needs.

Wishing it were otherwise, or putting it off, simply is not possible.

How serious is the problem? When the Illinois Department of Transportation released their six-year plan, they revealed that a mere four cents out of every dollar spent on transportation infrastructure would come from the state. Since 2010, the state’s contribution to transportation infrastructure has fallen by more than 94 percent. For the first time ever, local governments will be providing more money to pay for transportation maintenance and improvements than will the state.

There is no magic solution. There is no secret pot of gold that can pay for essential road, bridge and other transportation maintenance and improvements. The Transportation for Illinois Coalition has wrestled with this problem in countless hearings across the state. We absolutely support an end to diverting road fund dollars for non-road purposes, including ending the sales tax on gasoline that flows into the General Revenue Fund. We absolutely oppose fund raids. We absolutely support a “lock box” to protect transportation funding.

But, even if all of those things are done, it will not be enough.

Unfortunately, investing in any type of infrastructure costs money and it isn’t honest to tell the public otherwise.

More than almost any other state in the nation, the Illinois economy is dependent on its transportation infrastructure. Without a stable, reliable and predictable strategy to maintain and improve Illinois’ transportation infrastructure the Illinois economy will continue to stall.

Todd Maisch, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, and Mike Kleinik, executive director of the Chicago Laborers District Council-LMCC, are co-chairs of the Transportation for Illinois Coalition

Taxing is the government way

Our governor and Legislature have both submitted unbalanced budgets that will require new taxes. Both branches of government were sent a message in the last election that apparently was unheeded: no new taxes. There are ample funds to run our government without diminishing the quality of government services. We are told that it is a sound management procedure to live within our means. If it is a good practice for taxpayers, it should also be a good practice for tax users, our government. An across-the-board 10 percent reduction in spending might eliminate a few perks and not hamper government services.

Our current government is one with a single mind — tax to spend, which cannot be tolerated.John Culloton,Norwood ParkEasing tensions in the South China SeaMounting tension in the South China Sea has caused regional and global concern and made improved integration of the Asia-Pacific region appear all but out-of-reach.

Working to reduce these tensions, Republic of China (Taiwan) President Ma Ying-jeou, at the recent 2015 Asia-Pacific Research Forum, proposed a South China Sea Peace Initiative, a pragmatic and forward-looking course of action. The proposal aims to shift the focus from settling territorial disputes to jointly developing resources.

With the South China Sea Peace Initiative, President Ma calls on all parties to embrace the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation, urging multilateral dialogue to reach consensus on a code of conduct as well as resource management and development.

President Ma’s pledge that Taiwan would “take the lead in advancing peace and prosperity” through his South China Sea Peace Initiative and work with its partners to “pursue reciprocity and promote joint progress” is a beacon of hope. If all parties can work together, peace and cooperation stand a chance.

We believe that this approach is the best chance we have for reducing tension in the Asia-Pacific region, is an effective way to promote regional peace and serves as a great example to all who strive for a more peaceful world. A South China Sea of peace and cooperation may yet be a goal we can accomplish.

Calvin C. H. Ho,Director General,Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago


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