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Fair tax, but only after reform

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

February 11th, 2020 3:16 PM

The way forward: Senate President Don Harmon proposes a fair tax to pay for education and pensions. | Capitol News Illinois file photo by Jerry Nowicki

By Editorial

Wednesday Journal has published countless articles and letters as well as commentary on President Trump, some deserved and plenty over the top. Meanwhile, the paper continues to understate or even overlook the crisis we face in Illinois with mismanagement and corruption at every level. 

After attending Senator Harmon's town hall at Julian Middle School, I have concluded that the current political leadership in Oak Park, as well as the entire state of Illinois, is hopelessly lost. Senator Harmon asserted that the state's two sins over time have been failing to fund public education and failing to fund the pension system. His cure for these failures is his fair tax proposal. 

Fritz Kaegi decried the limits homeowners may deduct on their federal income tax under the new tax laws. But he failed to mention that his proposed reforms were squashed in the legislature by none other than Mike Madigan. Property values have plummeted in Oak Park largely due to the overwhelming tax burden — especially on higher-end homes.

What's wrong? 

1) We allow elected office holders to work in businesses that have a direct conflict with their official duties as legislators.

2) We do not limit terms, which allow corrupt (and old) politicians to protect their power at the expense of progressive change.

3) We gerrymander.

4) We allow elected judges such as Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke to deem pension reform unconstitutional instead of recusing herself from the decision.

Senator Harmon likes to point out that all our neighboring states have a progressive tax, but he does so without acknowledging that these states are not hundreds of billions in debt. Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa have been much more responsible stewards of their taxpayers' money and don't view recklessly issuing bonds to pay a backlog of debt as some miracle cure.

I am not opposed to a progressive tax but will only support it after the state legislators implement meaningful fiscal and ethics reform.

Sean O'Malley

Oak Park

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