Tuesday letters: Chicago finally getting real about paying bills

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel addresses a question about taxes during the second of three town hall meeting to gather resident input on the 2016 city budget at the South Shore Cultural Center on Sept. 2, 2015. | Ashlee Rezin/for Sun-Times Media

Thank you for Fran Spielman’s report “Rahm’s Historic Hikes.”

Five hundred million dollars in higher taxes is going to make a lot of people angry, but in a sense it is actually good news. After decades of blissful ignorance, Chicagoans finally are learning the truth about the cost of the government their representatives have built. Decades of falsehoods in budget documents and financial reports enabled city leaders to pay lip service to “balanced budgets” while accumulating billions of dollars in hidden debt.

Chicagoans have been getting a lot more government than they were paying for, at least in the short run. But the chickens are now coming home to roost. The truth hurts, sometimes. But it is better than lies.

We urge the city to come clean on its books, to stop claiming “balanced budgets” while spending more than it takes in, and to stop hiding behind government accounting standards as an excuse to avoid telling its citizens the truth about its finances.–

Bill BergmanDirector of Research

Truth in Accounting

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

What was America like when ‘great’?

Donald Trump says he wants to “make America great again.” He says America is not “great” now. Just what was America like when it was “great?”

Was this when a young person could pay for college by working part-time jobs or when the head of a household could work a 40-hour week and not earn enough to support his family? Was this when the rich paid taxes according to their income or when corporations set up offshore offices to allow them to pay no taxes at all?

Was this when we had a strong and growing middle class or when 90 percent of new income in the last 20 years went to the top 1 percent in wealth? Was this when our representatives and senators voted for the best interests of their constituents or when they voted according to their billionaire donors’ wishes?

Before the next election, I hope Trump tells us what he means by a return to a “great” America. We need to know so we can vote for the candidate who will work for the welfare of all Americans, not just for whoever gives them the most money.

Karen Wagner, Rolling Meadows

Money talks while guns take lives

When will gutless politicians pass laws that include comprehensive background checks for gun buyers, close the gun show loophole and restrict the purchase of assault weapons?

As long as the National Rifle Association spends exorbitant amounts of money to defeat politicians that are trying to slowdown the carnage, nothing much will change.

Tom Minnerick, Elgin

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