Why are folks leaving Chicago? Unfair taxes

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Chicago’s general obligation debt backed by property taxes now stands at nearly $9.9 billion — roughly $3,680 for each of the city’s 2.7 million residents. | Sun-Times file photo

People moving out of Chicago is a social and economic trend that transcends any one constituency, racial demographic or income level. Yuppies, the elderly, whites, Latinos, blacks, rich, middle class, poor, business owners, consumers and taxpayers all grapple with a complex problem that results in people leaving our city and even our state.

In neighborhoods like Pilsen and other parts of Chicago, long-time homeowners have been forced to move out because of their inability to pay high property taxes. Working professionals, blue-collar workers and small businesses owners and consumers of all ethnic backgrounds feel the intense pressure of extreme taxation and fees on plastic bags, cell phones and so on.

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There are other causes worth examining. Lack of economic investment in Chicago neighborhoods, high crime, lack of jobs and job training, a police culture that is not always in step with the residents it protects, a political structure that repels trust from citizens who vote for them . And, without a doubt, the single biggest cause is an inefficient and poorly structured tax system that harms the poor and helps those who can afford tax appeal attorneys connected to the political establishment. This same establishment is responsible for our pension debt problem and the endless borrowing that drains our city finances.

So why do so many people leave Chicago? They can’t afford to live with an unfair tax system and problematic finances that hurt the majority of people.

Worse, we have political and public leaders unable to deal with this core reason. With the election of a new Cook County tax assessor, hopefully the problem will diminish. Serious systematic assessment and tax reforms are needed to even out the playing field.

The next municipal elections should give Chicagoans an opportunity to select someone with the financial ability and experience to approach the Chicago exodus not in a zero-sum scenario, but in a comprehensive way. The newly elected mayor and aldermen will have to make some tough decisions that favor all Chicago stakeholders.

Froylan Jimenez, PilsenGet rid of this childish presidentIt was my job, as a boy, to sort empty pop bottles (empties) before returning them to the grocery store for a few cents per bottle. I also polished dress shoes for my father and me. If I forgot to sort the empties or polish our shoes on Saturday night, I heard from Dad. My default excuse line was “I can’t help it, it wasn’t my fault, I didn’t mean to,” delivered with rapid-fire hand-in-the-cookie-jar guilt.

Children are expected to be irresponsible and immature. Most grow out of it, even me.

In all fairness, I was a kid, 8 years old — not president of the United States.

Dad said “Men are just big boys,” a secular version of the Bible’s “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

America has less than two years to decide if President Donald Trump’s accomplishments outweigh his head-scratching words and actions here and abroad. Meanwhile, we have a president who has entertained self-proclaimed “mother—-“ Kanye West in the Oval Office, implied that the late Sen. John McCain was less than a hero for being shot down during the Vietnam War, insulted allies around the world and fired or driven from his administration anyone resembling a grownup.

This level of immaturity would have landed me in hot water at home, or in the dunce-cap corner in middle-school.

This isn’t a political rant. Trump’s behavior would be just as baffling if he called himself a Democrat.

Maybe it’s time for voters to put away childish presidents.

James H. Newton, Itasca

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