Property, income tax rates in Illinois

Sen. Harmon and Rep. Lilly continue their town hall meeting at Oak Park library, July 17, 2013 — from Illinois Blues: How the Ruling Party Talks to Voters, Chapter 3, “There Will Be No Cuts”:

The village clerk asked if property tax rates might rise. A “really, really good” question, Lilly said. She herself had asked it in a legislative committee meeting.

But really good question or not, she instead addressed the related but separate issue of allocating state funds for public schooling. “No way is education to be funded equitably across the state,” she said, meaning face-the-facts it won’t happen or over-my-dead-body it shouldn’t. Not clear.

But her “equitably” called up haves-vs.-have-nots funding of public schools — a sensitive issue for Oak Park homeowners. Harmon, an Oak Park homeowner, said he was “very sensitive” to the property-tax issue and let it go at that.

A man wondered if a “teeny tiny” income tax increase might be imposed. Harmon brought up (again) the Democrats’ “sixty-seven percent” increase (from 3 to 5%), signaling quote marks and adding, “We Democrats say two percent.” Challenged earlier, he was not quite ready to let that one go.

Again he ruled out service cuts. “We have already cut too much.”

Nonetheless, the state’s money shortage, said Lilly, was “really, really testing” the state’s financial capacities. Yes it was!

It’s about revenue, a man, said. “The rich should pay more.” He commended Harmon for a Wednesday Journal column in which he had put “crisis” in quotes. “Some are too rich” to need help from the government, the man added.

“Let ’em run for governor,” Harmon interjected, drawing laughter. Bruce Rauner had already announced, was to win the governorship sixteen months later.

Illinois Blues is available in paperbackepub and Amazon Kindle formats.

Dems getting out the vote: early, often, and more, more more of it . . .

. . . making it easier and easier to bring home the faithful, dead or alive:

SPRINGFIELD — Lawmakers are relaxing registration requirements for voters this November.

Legislation passed by the General Assembly last month would allow election-day registration and require expanded early voting throughout the state, with a special focus on college campuses. The amendment was attached to a minimum wage ballot referendum bill.

Along with requiring higher education facilities to conduct early voting drives in “high traffic areas” of campus, the bill also requires colleges and universities to send emails to their students with detailed voter registration process information in general election years. The emails will includes links where students can register online.

And thank you, Sen. Harmon (D-Oak Park) for thinking up this ploy:

State Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, sponsored the amendment from the Senate, and lauded the legislation.

“Anything that makes it easier for people to vote is a good thing,” Harmon said. “This is a meaningful step forward in the evolution of dramatic progress in voter access.”

The easier the better, says Sen. Don. But is there another side to this question?

“Now, the question is what’s the outcome?” asked Sen. Dave Syverson. “And obviously from our standpoint the concern is the integrity of the ballot and what this creates for everybody. When you make it easier for fraud or abuse to take place, that takes away from the integrity of the ballot, which ought to be our biggest priority and concern.”

Fraud or abuse? Why bring that up? It’s the least of Sen. Don’s worries. Tell me, what was the last time you heard a Democrat worry about fraud or abuse, except after the fact, when they lost the election?

More more about this at Rockford Star, “Illinois legislation expands voter access, raises fraud concerns.”