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Bernard Schoenburg

Rauner campaign removes ‘tax survey’ info from Facebook

Leader of group that issued it is anti-Lincoln

Leader of group that issued it is anti-Lincoln

After at least a few days and some growing controversy, Gov. Bruce Rauner’s campaign on Friday removed from its Facebook page a reference to Rauner’s high marks on a “tax survey” by Taxpayers United of America – a group led by Jim Tobin of Berwyn.

Rauner – who was endorsed by the political arm of Tobin’s group, Tax Accountability, in the 2014 primary – had posted about the ranking on social media.

“Taxpayers United of America has graded me at 92 percent in taxpayer friendliness,” stated the Facebook post, including picture of Rauner smiling as he talks to a woman near a cornfield.

Rauner’s campaign had already taken down a tweet, according to a story in Thursday’s Chicago Tribune, when asked about posts critical of Abraham Lincoln on the website of another Tobin organization, Taxpayer Education Foundation. One of those commentaries is titled: “ Lincoln Brutalized the Country and Shredded the Constitution.”

The Rauner campaign took down the Facebook post about the tax survey Friday after getting questions about Tobin from me.

“Dozens of respected newspapers and other publications in Illinois and nationally have cited Taxpayers United of America in the past,” said Rauner campaign spokesman Justin Giorgio. He had no further comment on why the post was removed.

Tobin told me in an interview Thursday that “I’ve said it for years – taxation is theft,” and “Really, we don’t need a state income tax at all.”

The Illinois News Network reporter who wrote a story to which the Rauner campaign had included a linked was Greg Bishop. When he had a talk show on WMAY radio in Springfield, Bishop had said in 2013 that “Taxation is slavery,” and “if you don’t pay, they’re coming after you with guns.”

In addition to issuing the survey, Taxpayers United of America is being highly critical of some lawmakers based on their budget votes this summer, which included a tax increase achieved by overriding Rauner vetoes. For example, state Rep. Mike Unes, R-East Peoria, got an 83 percent on the TUA survey, which should have put him on the group’s list of “taxpayer friends.”

Those budget votes were not among those in the survey, but Tobin said in a Nov. 15 news release that “turncoat Republicans” who voted for it could not be “taxpayer friends” regardless of their survey score.

During the budget debate, Unes said it was “immoral” for the state to go on without a budget, which he said would mean junk bond status – adding hundreds of millions of dollars in cost – and would “take our state off the cliff.” He talked of the billions owed to vendors and businesses, and how jobs and lives could be lost without a budget in place.

On Thursday, TUA issued a news release calling Unes a “taxpayer traitor” for his budget vote.

In the interview, Tobin said he stands by the things about Lincoln on the Taxpayer Education Foundation site. Among the opinions there are that Lincoln’s primary goal to fight the Civil War was saving tax revenue from the South.

“I used to think he was a great person because I heard all that bull---- back in school,” Tobin said. “Then I learned the truth about this guy, and other politicians like him. They’re war mongers.”

In early 1998, I wrote about Tobin and what was then called National Taxpayers United of Illinois, and its unfair hit on then-state Sen. Larry Bomke, R-Springfield.

Bomke was among legislators the group named “top taxpayer enemies,” based on how they voted on 25 issues. But Bomke had not been in the Senate for eight of those votes.

I haven’t quoted Tobin much over the years, though just days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, I did write how he thought the U.S. should end all economic aid and military involvement in the Middle East, where “special interests” included “the Arabs and the Jews who want us to keep sending our taxpayer dollars. ...” He also thought the U.S. was wrong to get into World War I, World War II and Vietnam.

“If we would have stayed out of it, Hitler would have lost anyway,” Tobin said of World War II. “Stalin would have defeated him. Or Hitler would have defeated Stalin. Who cares? Both of them were madmen.”

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