A lot of ‘been there, not done that’ items are on the agenda
Gov. Bruce Rauner started the new year by sharing his thoughts on Twitter.
He doesn’t have the same knack for generating controversy as the president, which is kind of too bad. Last week’s efforts were pretty much more of the same.
In a listing of his goals for this year – a year in which he is seeking re-election – we have this: “We must freeze property taxes and put in place a system that allows local governments to better control costs and easily allow referendums, so citizens can lower their local property taxes.”
Sound familiar? Of course it is. Freezing property taxes has been on Rauner’s to-do list for 3 years, and it has never been done.
That’s because Rauner wants a freeze tied to restrictions on public union collective bargaining, which isn’t going to get done as long as Democrats control any part of the process. So we’ll have to see what new approach Rauner plans to employ this year.
Another goal is to enact term limits. Been there, not done that.
You’d think if there’s nothing new on the agenda, Rauner would at least try to spice up the presentation a bit.
Oh, and let’s not forget a new addition to the wish list.
“We will introduce a plan to repeal the Madigan tax hike and require the budget to be truly balanced. No balanced budget – no pay for legislators,” said another Twitter entry.
If this is going to be a legitimate effort at repealing last summer’s income tax hike, then Rauner will include in his plan just how the state will cope with that loss in revenue.
One way would be to, once again, let the bill backlog balloon to ridiculous amounts and put the state’s bond rating in jeopardy. That’s probably not the preferable approach, which makes it essential for the person or persons who propose getting rid of the tax hike to explain how the state will deal with it.
Somehow, though, that never seems to be part of the proposal.
Big boost in tax revenue
The first 6 months of the state’s fiscal year are in the books, and guess what? Income tax collections are up by about $2.2 billion over a year ago. As well they should be, given the income tax increase passed in July.
Plus, the amount of money from the feds grew by $2.5 billion because the state borrowed money and paid off Medicaid bills with it.
Still, the bill backlog was at $8.75 billion as of Friday. It’s worth remembering as the campaign season heats up and more people call for cutting state taxes.
In case you shunned news about the state of Illinois for a while, you may have missed the mentions that Illinois is in its bicentennial year.
The 200th birthday will be marked by events throughout the year, culminating in a grand finale in December. Illinois became the nation’s 21st state on Dec. 3, 1818.
Anyway, to mark this notable event in the state’s history, a series of daily bicentennial minutes are being produced to highlight events that occurred that day in Illinois history. It’s a product of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Illinois State Museum and Mid-West Family Broadcasting.
An announcement from the state teased some of the upcoming entries, like the governor who never visited the state Capitol, the man who changed the shape of Illinois, and the tallest man in history.
Those are all fine things to highlight, but the best entry for the first week was Friday, the 108th anniversary of the birth of Hugh Brannum, best known for playing Mr. Green Jeans on the old “Captain Kangaroo” TV show.
He earned a bicentennial remembrance because he was born in Sandwich.
This is going to be a fun year for trivia fans.