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Letters to the Editor

GUEST COLUMN: Retire in Illinois? Not for this Dixon resident

State's financial mess makes it tough to stay

William Bencini
William Bencini

For 60 years of my life, I was a full-time resident of Illinois. Eight years ago, an opportunity to teach at Colorado State University-Pueblo arose, so I retired from the state of Illinois, albeit somewhat early, and moved to Pueblo, Colorado, where I teach and reside during the school year.

I retained my home in Dixon and return every summer to work on it with the plan to perhaps someday retire permanently in Dixon. I have to say that the financial plight of Illinois, with its emergency patchwork financial remedies for its budget woes, has swayed my decision in the opposite direction. My house in Dixon, on its best day, might be worth $75,000 when all projects are completed. The 2017 taxes on the property are $1,444 and rise $75 annually. Homes in Colorado assessed at that level of taxes sell for $300,000 and more.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is beaming about all of the new tax increases while failing to address the root causes of Illinois’ financial irresponsibility. Have the governor and Michael Madigan noticed homes on the market for a year-plus and for-sale signs constantly announcing “price reduced” or “new price”?

Did they notice Illinois lost 1 percent of its population during the past census? Does any of this matter to them? During my youth in deep-south Illinois, the state was always a leader in agriculture and manufacturing. Now we have to expand gambling, legalize recreational marijuana, and raise every tax imaginable just to support our financial emergencies, much less pay down our debt and govern responsibly. Has anyone else noticed the 35-year demise of Illinois has been overseen in its entirety by Madigan?

I can no longer defend my home state to others who are constantly asking me about Illinois’ financial ills. Pritzker, Madigan, et al have reversed my decision and I will spend the remainder of my career living in Colorado.

Tree-lined roads

I very much enjoyed the tree planting article that appeared in the Saturday, July 6, Telegraph (“A better climate: Made in the shade,” page A4). Everyone complains about CO2, but it is simple plant food that can be reduced by more plants – trees of course, being the top of that pecking order. Let’s imagine this in Lee County – all of the ditches and right-of-way of rural county roads with a tree planted every 25 to 50 yards. Manage this correctly and you have an inexhaustible source of easily accessible, renewable lumber for as long as the planet exists, as well as a source of income that is progressive and not regressive, as is the plan du jour in Illinois.

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