Thursday Letters: New city tax bills say we need a better way

SHARE Thursday Letters: New city tax bills say we need a better way

A reader writes that Illinois which meets at the Illinois State Capitol shown here, should approve a progressive income tax to reduce the burden on lower income people and improve schools across Illinois. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

In a few days Cook County property owners will receive their tax bills. Unfortunately, property taxes will rise throughout the county, with Chicago property owners being hit hardest. Chicago homeowners will see their bill increase by 13 percent on average while owners of commercial and industrial properties will be hit with an average 10 percent hike.

While the Chicago property tax increases are primarily a result of the tax hike passed last year, it exposes a fundamental flaw with the way that we fund needed government services, especially education.

To truly improve our schools, we must lift the primary burden from the shoulders of property owners and replace Illinois’ flat income tax with a graduated one, which restores fairness to our tax code. Illinois is one of only eight states with a flat income tax, while more than 30 have a graduated income tax.

Because we rely on a regressive tax — property taxes — to fund public schools, school districts in areas rich and poor find it increasingly difficult to raise the money they need, and its property owners — often financially-strapped themselves — are made first in line to pony up the cash. Every child deserves a fully funded education. It is unfair to make homeowners in lower income communities bear the same burden as those in more affluent areas, but that’s what’s happening under the current system where per pupil spending can nearly triple from one school district to another. This inequity is unfair and immoral.

Obviously the financial challenges Chicago, suburban Cook County and other areas face throughout the state are enormous. That is why I have also repeatedly called for government efficiencies, eliminating corruption that eats away so many of our tax dollars as well as a sensible tax system.

Illinois residents face many challenges. Our state continues to operate without a budget and without needed school and pension reforms. Government must be bold, transparent and accountable and it must reimagine our taxing system to help address these needs.

David Orr, Cook County Clerk

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Now that the Republicans have issued their long- awaited and very thorough report on Benghazi, it’s clear that Ms. Clinton did nothing wrong. She also didn’t do anything right.

President Obama and  his former secretary of state and their underlings did not cause the attack on our U.S. consulate, nor were they to blame for the deaths of four Americans. They also didn’t send any help.

What Clinton did do was advance a weird and completely false story about how the whole Benghazi attack was due to a video. Why would anyone say that? Except some one who is scared and needs a cover-up.

It’s not fair to blame Clinton for the evil actions of others, but her response and behavior following the attack indicate what we might expect from her should she reach the White House. Clinton has shown she’ll do anything it takes to make a deal to save her political future.

Mike Simon, Glen Ellyn

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