March 27, 2007

Principles? We don't need no stinkin' principles!

Maybe consistency IS the hobgoblin of little minds?

From Dispatch/Argus statehouse reporter Scott Reeder's blog, "The Statehouse Reeder" comes this tidbit about Sen. Mike Jacob's stance on Gov. Blagojevich's controversial tax proposal:
Sen. Mike Jacobs says voting for the Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s business tax hike would be political suicide. And he adds it would be devastating to the state’s economy and even more so in a bi-state community like the Quad-Cities.

But he says he’ll vote for the plan if Blagojevich ponies up the full $75 million to build Western Illinois University’s new Moline campus.

How is this for a statehouse motto: “Where’s Mine?”

And apparently large business owners in the 36th district are Jacobs' only constituency, as suggested by his considering a vote for the measure which would hike taxes on them but provide funding for health care and schools "political suicide". What about the people whom it might actually benefit? Ah.. I guess they don't contribute much, and probably don't vote. Screw 'em.

It's the same sad story. The politicians aren't interested in what the proposal actually contains, how it would work, who it would affect, who it would benefit, and what the likely consequences might be. They don't have the time or interest to actually learn about what they're deciding on. They leave that up to the lobbyists, interest groups, and/or big donors.

These are the people that get their ear, and in this case, they tell them it would be armageddon for business and wreck the economy. They get this daily from dozens of directions. Do they hear much in support of the measure from the poor and middle class people it is intended to benefit? Not so much. So.... guess in whose interests they vote?

I suppose committing political suicide is easier if there's $75 million going to contractors, unions, landowners and developers, and a brand spanking new WIU campus on the riverfront, which of course you'd then take sole credit for accomplishing, even though one vote and some political headaches seems a fairly painless and incredibly simple way to get that sort of tax money bonanza. That's IF Blago wants to play that game.

But isn't it refreshing to see a politician so unattached to principle that they can effortlessly flip-flop on such a major issue depending on how much you pay them off? I guess selling your vote is one way of getting something accomplished. Not exactly the most skillful, but.. the end result is the same. You just can't buy that sort of integrity.

Well, apparently you can.

A piece in the Sun-Times recently explained the latest manuveuring in the state senate over Blago's plan to impose a gross receipts tax on large businesses in the state.

Senate President Emil Jones has renewed efforts to support the governor's plans and has come out in opposition to a "tax swap" proposed by Sen. James Meeks, which would as described in the Sun-Times article,
... fund schools and lower property taxes by increasing the income tax for individuals from 3 to 5 percent, boosting corporate income taxes and imposing a tax on an array of services and entertainment such as haircuts, movies and dry cleaning.
The arcana of tax law is above my pay grade, but in general, which of these schemes would be best for the state and it's residents overall?

Support for the gross receipts plan is thin at best, based largely on fear of business interests scorn and their campaign cash drying up, but would a tax swap plan which further taxes (penalizes) work by increasing income tax rates be a step in the right direction?

Anyone have any opinion on this matter which will affect everyone, particularly in a border area such as ours?

Is the tax swap plan preferable to the gross receipts plan? Or would you rather see an entirely different system proposed, such as increasing sales tax while cutting income and property taxes?

Is the predictible sky is falling lament of business interests that this will "destroy" Illinois' economy simply short-sighted and selfish? After all, what good would it be if Illinois had more businesse but a poorly educated and unhealthy workforce?

Wouldn't a state with an excellent education system and an effective public health program be just as attractive to businesses looking for a place to locate?

After all, if they just want cheap labor to exploit and to squeeze out every short term dime of profit, they can move to Mexico like many already have.

How do you see this issue? Or does it make your eyes glaze over and hold little if any interest at all?

While it's clear that some of the politicians who actually vote on these things don't have to be bothered with knowing much about what the proposals are, how it would work, or what consequences they can be expected to bring, I hope someone out there might be able to enlighten us and provide some basis for evaluating these proposals.


At 3/27/2007 3:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dope, are you really are not as short-sighted or ignorant as this post suggests?

Clearly, the QC-area...businesses, their employees, the citizens that own property and pay property taxes, etc stand to lose every time Blago increases fees, taxes and drives a competitive wedge into the economy of the state.

God bless Mike Jacobs for understanding this rather simple idea and being wise enough to recognize that the only way it makes sense is that if there is a overloaded up-front benefit for the area.

Now Dope, this is far too easy to see for you to blunder as you so often do. This, I expect, will be censored as I know that you do not like for your blunders to be seen.

At 3/27/2007 5:09 PM, Anonymous negotiator said...

If you don't think that negotiations are part of politics then you are sadly mistaken Dope. Mike Boland was out in front of this bill when it was first reported. Now the Speaker who helped pay Mike Boland's record $75 a vote has changed his view. The circle of influence is strong in Springfield and if you don’t think that this is going to be changed and peoples minds changed along the way then you are ignorant.
You probably hate Lance Briggs from the Chicago Bears for saying he is sitting out next year.

My money is on the fact that both Boland, Briggs, and Jacobs will find a compromise, which is usually the case in any negotiations.

I appreciate all that our leaders do for us.

If a tax is comming I would be upset if our leaders didn't demand a University!!

Get with the program.

At 3/27/2007 8:00 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 3:25

Well you're right. I don't like assinine crap like your comment, mainly because you're usually more interested in suggesting my views are somehow stupid than explaining why you think so.

That alone is reason to get it dumped.

Secondly, to bring God into this in relation to a politician doing some horse trading is nauseating. It's that sort of overblown crap that also gets your comments thrown out.

And you might also notice, that as usual, you provide no information about the issue at hand, nothing to inform readers or make them understand the issue any better, not reasoned explantion for why you hold your views, and essentially don't contribute anything of interest or use.

So yeah, as you're slowly learning, (though not quite) that kind of junk gets tossed.

At 3/27/2007 8:03 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Negotiator, again, another lame comment.

All I asked is for someone to explain the competing tax schemes,or at least explain why they feel one is preferable to the other, and you apparently can't or won't.

Instead you put words in my mouth as usual (where did I say anything remotely like I think negotiations are not part of politics? That's ridiculous.)

And then of course you pretend I don't know what I'm talking about simply because I don't endorse the way things work.

I most certainly know what I'm talking about, and I most certainly think it's not exactly skilled politics to be willing to support a bill you think is going to cause massive harm to businesses and bring the state's economy to a screetching halt (to hear it told) as long as you get some pork for your district.

Does that happen all the time? Of course it does. Does the fact that it happens mean that I have to like it or "thank God" for some politician essentially doing nothing but hold a vote hostage to get funds for the area?

I sure hope not.

As for your name dropping of a Bear player... nice. I'm sure he's a great player, whoever he is.

And thanks anyway, but I don't think I'll "get with" this program.

At 3/27/2007 9:41 PM, Anonymous steven said...

Dope -

You might want to check out the folks over at

They seem to have a good analysis of the GRT vs. the Tax Swap.

That seems to be what you are looking for.

At 3/27/2007 9:46 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I appreciate the link, but what I was looking for was some rational people to actually discuss the issues.

Guess no one really cares about it, which is fine.

At 3/27/2007 9:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't let the fact that Jacobs and a handful of cronies have nothing better to do than attack you every time their boy gets mentioned. When you poke a pig, it's bound to squeal.

I remember them whining when you didn't mention him enough too. Blow it off.

At 3/28/2007 12:17 PM, Anonymous yinn said...

I haven't done enough homework on GRT so can't speak to that yet, but I like the tax swap idea because it holds real promise for bringing down property taxes and for more equitable allocations of funds for schools.

However, I sincerely doubt that GRT will ruin the "business climate" in Illinois. We give away tons of incentives and the only property taxes Illinois businesses pay are on real estate holdings, not on other property (e.g. equipment) as is true in other states such as Indiana.

Illinois is pretty regressive tax wise. We should change that, not only with income tax but also on things like license plates. Personally I think we should come at that from a "luxury tax" sort of perspective and charge for plates based on vehicle book value. Should the person in the shiny new Hummer pay the same as the one driving the tiny Toyota?

At 3/28/2007 12:22 PM, Anonymous yinn said...

p.s. You are correct in suggesting that companies come here for the infrastructure. Cost of doing business is a consideration, but it's mostly about Location! Location! Location! as always.

Great book: The Great American Jobs Scam: Corporate Tax Dodging & the Myth of Job Creation, by Greg LeRoy. &/or visit .

At 3/28/2007 8:18 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Thanks for that Yinn...

I think moving towards more sales taxes while reduceing income taxes seems like a sensible and equitable way to go.

I too am skeptical of the gloom and doom predictions from the business community and those who are in their pocket.

Will it cost them? Most likely. But will it really put a dent in the vast majority of business bottom lines? I sincerely doubt it will affect them nearly as severely as they suggest.

The other line of thinking is the supposition that businesses eventually pass all of their costs on to consumers, and there's no doubt a great degree of truth to that.

I see the editor of the River City Reader has an editorial which seems to suggest that every penny business' are taxed will be paid by consumers, though I haven't had a time to read it in its entirely yet.

But I don't think it will represent a noticable spike in prices, and beyond that, the consumer may pay a bit more, but on the other end, they'll supposedly be getting other taxes lowered and will receive benefits in health care and education besides.

At 3/28/2007 8:46 PM, Anonymous saul said...

Surely Jacobs would be happy to take some credit for the $75 million plus jobs that the proposed WIU expansion will bring if it passes, and that is not necessarily a bad thing--that is, I can think of many worse things that the government could be spending money on. But I wonder, who owns the land where the proposed WIU expansion is to be located? And who is likely to get the construction contracts? Is it likely that Jacobs is trying to do favors to these particular land and business owners? Do they have a very large degree of influence in his campaign or in local politics as a whole? And what is the process by which contractors would be chosen for this job? Nothing necessarily sounds fishy here, but it would just be good to know these things.

At 3/28/2007 9:11 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Saul, you echo my thoughts on the matter too.

It's never a bad thing to find out what you can about things when that much money is involved. The university is a worthy project, but just how wildly was the project inflated? What all was tacked on and for how much and where will the majority of state funds go?

Those are just common sense questions.

At 3/31/2007 7:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it that if someone voices a thought contrary to yours, you find every reason to dismiss thier comment?

At 3/31/2007 11:42 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

It's called arguing or disputing a point, otherwise known as debate. Look those words up. Then perhaps you'll be less confused.

At 4/01/2007 3:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look up the word "censorship" and you'll find a corresponding photo of a Dope.

The Dope is afraid to let comments rise or fall on thier merits. His principles are so lightly held that they cannot stand the slightest disgreeement or contrary opinion and must hide them from those he knows he is not as bright as.

At 4/01/2007 10:11 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I'm pretty sure I'm bright enough to not end a sentence like that.

You can flatter yourself that I "censor" comments for the reason you dream up, but the fact is that if you have nothing worthwhile to say, it won't be published.

At 4/04/2007 8:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone else find it ironic the Jacobs comes out against gay marriages the same week that the Dope accusses him (Jacobs) of not holding any convictions? Perhaps Denny, a pollster, or one of his big contributors told him what to say?

I don't know how Jacobs beat a valdictorian and a West Point grad in the same year?

At 4/04/2007 10:45 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I guess you missed it. Jacobs said first that he'd be more amenable to a bill that allowed gay marriage, rather than civil unions, then saying he'd vote against that too. Does saying you'd be "amenable" to a gay marriage bill then contradicting yourself immediately equal having convictions?

As to how he beat his opponents, virtual unknowns before the campaigns, and who apparently got really smart AFTER the election, because during the campaign they were both phoney incompetent frauds to hear you tell it, yet now you make them out to be invincible. (what bullshit) I've got an answer.

Try outspending your opponents 10 to 1.

That's how Jacobs beat them, and beat them by a far narrower margin than the landslide the cash advantage should have brought.

At 4/05/2007 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dope why is it that you are for taxing the poor with sales tax. Propety tax hits the people that are owners. The haves of the world. To tax the poor for the food that they buy is a sin, I am ashamed that you are for this regressive type of tax.

You must be a rich land owner that has to pay high property tax. That is always the way with you people that are rich enough to own large properties.

Your republican leanings are starting to show through.

At 4/05/2007 4:33 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Over two years and your pathetic attempts to distort and misrepresent my views are still as laughable as ever. Surely I'd hoped you'd improve. Guess not.

To point out the obvious, sales taxes don't tax the poor. They tax those who consume the most. The poor, last I looked, don't consume the most.

At 4/07/2007 9:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They do not pay any property tax's however, Dope. They will now pay sales tax's. If you pay nothing then you pay for tax's with your food money then you are paying more tax's. Are you realy this ignorant. You rich property owners realy know how to get a better deal and then tell us it is good for us.

Piss on my head and tell me it is raining.

What is wrong with you Dope!!!

At 4/08/2007 7:32 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

The only thing "wrong" with me is that I disagree with your views, apparently.

Sales taxes don't harm the poor more than the wealthy. I suppose when you buy a boat, a second home, and all that scotch, you're somehow paying less sales tax than someone living paycheck to paycheck?

If moving to a sales tax only tax scheme is so terrible for lower income people, why is it that Republicans generally hate the idea?

If you try to say that it's out of concern for the least among us, you'll make us all laugh.


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