Copper doors, closed schools, need for austerity

Facing restless voters in the September 12, 2013 town hall meeting at Galewood Community Church, Sen. Don Harmon and Rep. Camille Lilly had another matter thrust before them, . . . .

. . . the recently publicized expensive copper doors for the state capitol, which the questioner said demonstrated a “let them eat cake” attitude.

The money for those doors did not come from general revenues, Harmon explained. It came from the Illinois Jobs Now! program, a capital spending bill signed into law (and nicknamed) by Governor Quinn in 2009.

This program, named as if it was job creation, was to cost $31 billion over six years and was to pay for more along lines of these copper doors — $17-plus million for two zoos, Brookfield and Lincoln Park, $1.2 million for the Muntu Dance Theater, and $.5 million for the Chicago Baseball Museum and Stadium, to name a few of its beneficiaries — all of it with accompanying taxation and borrowing. 

Raise taxes on “cronies,” man said.

A man emptied a grab bag of populist-progressive complaints: “People in power need money, they get it,” he complained. “The state has a revenue problem, not a spending problem. We should raise taxes on the people who can afford it,” especially “cronies.”

Furthermore, he did not want Harmon and Lilly (“you guys”) to “follow lockstep with Rahm [Emanuel] and the others in closing [Chicago] schools.”

This tore it for Lilly, who . . . 

. . .  bristled at it. She was “one of the few” to oppose the closings,” she protested, and was “very concerned” and was “going to make sure this issue [city schools] is revisited in our great state.”

Nonetheless, austerity was in order, she said. “Everyone will have to help. . . . It’s not easy, it’s not comfortable. . . .” Someone spoke up, she cut her off. “Not yet,” she said, raising her voice a notch.

More to come, from Illinois Blues: How the Ruling Party Talks to Voters— available in paperbackepub and Amazon Kindle formats.

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