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.Indeed.
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.