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The Mechanics
« The Political Game Means Things for People Ouch... Stimulus Package Legislation Knocks Blago »

Blagojevich Fri Jan 23 2009

Blago Accuses Legislators of Having Secret Good Ideas

There are so many interesting events to write about our beloved Governor that it is difficult to choose what to pay attention to. Notwithstanding, Rod Blagojevich continued his miraculous streak of absurd public statements today, when he revealed the impeachment trial to be a strong-armed attempt to raise the state gasoline and income taxes. Amidst long analogies to Western movies and Pearl Harbor, this accusation was particularly odd because it seems that raising state gasoline and income taxes might be a good idea.

Blagojevich made it a focal point of his platform to oppose any increases in taxes during his time in office. This campaign promise, made ad nauseum by every spineless politician, has had terrible consequences throughout the state. The benefits of increasing the gasoline tax are the easiest to recognize. Economists, such as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, argue that taxes are effective at changing behavior deemed to be harmful or overabundant. Cheap gasoline is a direct cause of the terrible traffic, sprawl and pollution problems that the Chicago area experiences. Drivers who eschew public transportation and contribute to congestion would have a financial incentive to alter their behavior. Perhaps Blago will threaten congestion pricing on our tollways, which virtually every planning agency says is effective.

Between trotting out people in wheelchairs or rattling the saber of an income tax increase, Blago has not only proved his delusion but demonstrated a lack of a basic understanding of tax strategy. While the Chicago area possesses an infamous sales tax rate, Illinois is also home to a pathetically low income tax rate. According to the Tax Foundation, Illinois ranks 30th (higher means a greater burden) with regards to income tax burden and much lower than most other "comparable" states (i.e. states with a large modern city and metropolitan area, yet a sizable manufacturing base). The reluctance of the Governor, as well as state legislators, to make a difficult decision to raise income taxes has shifted the burden to raise revenue to counties and municipalities with property and sales taxes. School funding disparities caused by an over-reliance on property taxes and regressive sales taxes that disproportionately affect the poor demonstrate Blagojevich's complete lack of comprehension as to what policies will actually help the people he seeks to lead.

So beware! If the senate "[hangs] me and ... the 12 million people of Illinois" we might actually get a more logical, structured taxing system.

 
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Ramsin CanonAuthor Profile Page / January 24, 2009 12:44 PM

I think Carl wins the post-title rodeo for this week.

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It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...

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Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

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It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

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Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
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