Don’t hit ordinary drivers with higher taxes and fees to pay for road repairs

SHARE Don’t hit ordinary drivers with higher taxes and fees to pay for road repairs
A new program announced Thursday is intended to offer some relief from high gasoline prices.

Illinois legislators have proposed raising the tax on gasoline to fund the construction and repair of roads and bridges.

Associated Press

Your recent editorial “Before one more bridge crumbles, Illinois better budget for repairs” presents the case for the new infrastructure bill in Springfield. I agree on the dire necessity of the improvements, but the funding solution hit me like a ton of bricks!

Why are ordinary drivers to blame? The money is to come from increases in the gas tax, diesel fuel, passenger car registration fees, driver’s license fees and fees for electric car registration. Every one of these sources comes out of the pockets of everyday drivers, including truck drivers. This is entirely wrong-headed and amounts to a regressive tax, like a sales tax that charges everybody the same.

What about charging those who benefit most from the roads and bridges? Think who profits from the use of the transportation system. Is it a company whose vehicle carries a $100,000 value product, or a driver who may be on his or her way to a minimum wage job? The tax increase, as envisioned, will let the one get away with paying a tidbit while breaking the other. Please!

Why make something great — new life for roads and bridges — into a burden to those who should be rejoicing, the public? Surely our political leaders can be more creative.

William Bigelow, Irving Park

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A free market, without kickbacks, for prescription drugs

We all benefit from the huge investment by the American pharmaceutical industry to develop new medications and treatments. So do patients throughout the world.

We would all pay the price if that investment does not continue.

We would all benefit from a free market without the government-sanctioned system of kick-backs administered by prescription benefit managers. We need a better understanding of where that money goes.

But that system is a good indicator of what could happen if profit incentives for the huge investment needed to develop new drugs are replaced by a political ideology that prefers to see people suffer and die than allow anyone to make a profit.

A political spoils system would provide no improvement for our medical care.

Richard E. Ralston, executive director, Americans for Free Choice in Medicine

Rein in Trump and his trade war

Since the day he took over the presidency, Donald Trump has challenged the limits of the power awarded to the presidency. Republicans are now concerned that their constituents will be hurt by the latest rounds of tariff hikes. To hold on to their  base, they are willing to divert approximately $15 billion to aid ranchers and farmers hurt most in Trump’s “trade skirmish.” It may be time for Congress, and more specifically the House, to impress upon the president that the power to impose tariffs, in most cases, belongs to them, not to Trump.

Right now Trump is engaging China in a trade confrontation that could ultimately cost the American consumer billions, with no guarantee that any resulting agreement will benefit consumers. Regardless of what Trump would like us to believe, there are serious questions as to just how proficient he is in “the art of the deal.”

The stakes are incredibly high. His actions could adversely affect virtually every man, woman and child in this nation. This just seems like too big a gamble for the legislature to sit back and let him run this show.

Daniel Pupo, Orland Park

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