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McQueary: Where’s the outrage?

Thursday, Mar 29, 2007

* Southtown columnist Kristen McQueary climbs aboard the GRT bus

Let this sink in: From 1997 to 2005, 48 percent of corporations with annual sales of $50 million or more paid no corporate income taxes, according to Blagojevich’s office of management and budget. […]

Scott Reeder, bureau chief for Small Newspaper Group in Springfield, reported in February that Boeing took to flying executives over the ocean when signing sales agreements to avoid taxation policies. […]

In the meantime, be skeptical — of the television commercials, the data, the projections, the doomsday scenarios. If it means playing “chicken” with big businesses threatening to leave the state, deal me in.

No argument from me that big business needs to pay its fair share. But one major quibble: McQueary writes about companies grossing more than $50 million a year, but the governor’s GRT proposal kicks in at a mere $1 million a year gross. A well-run family restaurant would gross that easily - hardly a big business.

* The AP has a story up entitled “Three Democratic senators reject Blagojevich tax plan.” Not quite. I’ll post a copy of the letter signed by the three Latino Senators in the subscriber-only section, but it doesn’t flat-out oppose the gross receipts tax.

* Democratic state Rep. Frank Mautino expressed his doubts about the GRT yesterday…

“It does not have support in this chamber,” said state Rep. Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley.

* Schoenburg: Governor’s latest PR move puts pressure on nonprofits

“Here we have a state worker, on state time, using state equipment to generate a state-owned note that solicits providers with state contracts to use provided talking points to lobby their legislators to support the governor’s health-care proposals. […]

“The intimation is that support for the governor’s program will support our organization,” the social service agency person said. “If we do not, we have no way of knowing where we’ll stand after the dust settles.”

* According to Michael Sneed, Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. opposes the GRT…

The injury will not stop Jackson, however, from battling Gov. Blagojevich’s proposed gross receipt tax, claiming it will devastate small businesses.

* More…

* Ads air opposing Governor’s tax plan

* Choice tough for school funding plans

- Posted by Rich Miller        


49 Comments
  1. - Johnny USA - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 9:08 am:

    “but the governor’s GRT proposal kicks in at a mere $1 million a year gross. A well-run family restaurant would gross that easily - hardly a big business.”

    Rich - they need to pay their fair share too. A family that owns a restaurant with $1 million in revenue EVERY YEAR probably has several Lexuses, and several vacation houses…all while not paying their waitstaff very much money or providing them with health benefits. Their $1 million in revenue comes on the backs of the people of Illinois

    Is it right that a company with $1 million in revenue won’t be paying its fair share? Certainly not, when there are so many people in this state that who so little.

    You are wrong to exclude them, Rich.


  2. - Bill - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 9:10 am:

    Kristen is my favorite political columnist(present company excluded, of course). This column is a good example of why. She is smart, courageous, objective, and never afraid to get at the real truth. We must enhance state revenue this year. Experts will argue about the best way to do this but the fact remainns that Illinois is a low(and in many cases, for big corporations, no) tax state. This column shows why Boeing left Washington and it wasn’t to avoid the GRT there. It was to reap windfall tax incentives while they engage in what I would call unethical practices to avoid what little they would be required to pay in state income tax. Boeing is not the only big business engaged in these questionable practices.
    Let’s end the free ride for big business in this state and force them to be good corporate citizens and pay their fair share.


  3. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 9:17 am:

    If the governor was serious, he would have met with his own party leaders and held discussions over his proposal. He would have pushed for this for a couple of years, recognizing that this would be his resolution of state funding issues. He would have listened to all the comments about the GRT. He would have listened to businesses regarding his proposals. He would have done a lot of work.

    He didn’t. Instead of being a governor, Blagojevich decided to run a campaign. His years of electoral successes have given him a sense that he didn’t have to listen, present and compromise. His re-election gave him a feeling that all other political leaders should abort their policies and beliefs, and listen to him as they would a professor. He annointed himself as a king and stood before the General Assembly as though they would fall over themselves listening to his self-righteous proclamations. He was delighted to surprise them, so that he could get on the road, and speak to the “working people” he represented. He believed his voters would embrace their children and hurl invectives at their state representatives and senators as he directed them to.

    He cut TV ads before he met with other decision makers. He called businesspeople insulting names before he counted up all the money they currently pay the state. He meet in churches and claimed he was on a crusade, and that God was on his side.

    This is not how things are done. This is not a movie starring Sean Penn. This is not fake money. This is not a political campaign.

    This is called governing. Policy making. Legislation. This is called a democracy. This is where elected representatives work hard to find solutions to our state government’s challenges. This is where adults work and state business is conducted.

    We have no room for a governor who doesn’t understand his job. Being stubborn and insulting does not prove seriousness or confidence. Creating bogus citizen groups does not replace voters. Bloviating politicians have a place on the campaign trail, but when the votes are counted, the work begins, and we have to face facts.


  4. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 9:25 am:

    “Johnny USA” have you any idea what the overhead at a restaurant is? Do you think they’re pocketing all of that million dollars? Do you know the difference between “gross” and “net”? Do you know the difference between “big” and “small” business? That was a ridiculous comment.


  5. - Bill - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 9:30 am:

    VM,
    You continually post your opinion of the Governor’s leadership style. How do you know who the Governor hes met with? He seems to have met with the President of the Senate to discuss this plan. He has met with the mayor of Chicago to discuss his plan.He has met with the other constitutional officers. Aren’t all of them “leaders of his own party”? Do you know for sure that he has not met with the Speaker and members of his staff. It is not the Governor who is being remiss and a poor “leader”. Could it be that the opposition to the governor’s ambitious, ground breaking plan to solve the recurring structural deficit problem in Illinois is motivated more by greed and self-interest fostered by lobsters for special interest groups like the Chamber and IMA rather than fiscal concerns.
    Your repetitive personal attacks on the governor, while amusing, are not on topic. Debate the merits and leave the Gov’s personality and your aversion to anything innovative out of it.
    The Speaker doesn’t need your help and the Governor will not be scared off. He seems to be doing quite well politically despite your perception of his supposed shortcomings.


  6. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 9:33 am:

    If the Governor is so outraged, he should figure out which of those 48% of the “tax scofflaws” contributed to his political campaign and send the money to the Illinois Department of Revenue.


  7. - Buck Naked - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 9:41 am:

    I agree with Bill. VM seems more interested in slandering the governor than discussing the proposal. Clearly the state needs to generate more revenue. The state is one of the lowest taxing state’s in the countrty when considering income and sales taxes. This is a major contributing factor to the mess that Blagojevich inherited when elected in 2002. Opponents have tried to pin underfunded pensions on him. They have tried to pin underfunded schools on him. They have tried to pin any job losses on him.

    However, they have failed to take action on these issues for the 26 years preceeding blagojevich (or at least did so insufficiently). Failure to make the tough choices, ones that are not politically advantageous, demonstrates a lack of leadership. VM, it seems that Blagojevich, by choosing one of the most unpopular paths to generate revenue, has drawn political fire from all sides. He is putting his political future on the line with this proposal because he believes that this is the way to solve the problems that have gone unaddressed in this statefor too long.

    Isnt this leadership?


  8. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 9:45 am:

    Boeing Company $500.0 12/4/2004 Friends of Blagojevich

    Boeing Company $5,000.00 10/30/2002 Friends of Blagojevich

    Boeing Company $1,000.00 10/19/2005 Friends of Blagojevich


  9. - Buck Naked - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 9:57 am:

    YDD, again a sign of the governors leadership. His GRT intends to benefit the working people of the state, not the bog corporations that have benefitte from loopholes that the governor has been trying to close for the past four years. Again, he is defining leadership by risking the finalcial support of companies like Boeing in exchange for generating revenue to improve healthcare and education for the working people of the state.

    The sad thing is that big business will oppose this so that their honchos can continue to make obscene amounts of money, meanwhile the lack of skilled workers forces them to support work visas to import skilled labor from other countries. Why wouldnt they pay a little more to help educate workers in their own communities?

    Its so silly — the greed of business is appalling.


  10. - demgrrl - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 9:59 am:

    bill and johnny usa are right on. and kudos to mcqueary for not shying away from the big biz guys who are pressuring news publishers all over the state to write negative stories about grt. with newspapers feeling a collective financial sting these days, it will be difficult for them to back down from biz advertiser threats.

    there’s simply no good reason why so many corps should get away without paying income taxes, but we little people and small biz do. the illinois chamber has done a great job of turning this into an attack on small biz. because the big biz boys pay their bills, they know that they’ll lose on this issue unless they can trick small business and the public into thinking the grt will hurt them. it’s dispicable. everyone should pay their fair share and do the right thing for health care and education.


  11. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 10:10 am:

    What a fool our Governor is. Doesn’t he realize that he is in no political position to be playing the kind of ridiculous hardball he’s going to be playing on this one??? It’s not like his re-election was one of great acclimation.

    It is not that I disagree with the general premise that big business needs to be (and has not been) paying its fair share, but as Rich points out to have the floor of this measure begin at the $1 million level is ludicrous. It would be like spraying Agent Orange over a state gathering of Chamber of Commerce members; absolute devastation in a figurative sense. Businesses’ bottom lines would suffer, and the offsetting decisions they would be forced to make would amount to either job losses, decreased purchases (and therefore collective economic activity within the state) or [most likely, regardless of the first two] higher costs simply passed on to consumers.

    Some who disagree with Blago. would go as far as to threaten a Business Exodus (over time) as a result of the GRT. I would not go that far, since Illinois obviously has both a strategic and sizable market, but I definitely don’t think that it would encourage a lot of businesses to exactly come flocking to Illinois as a result either.

    The GRT could be a component of the solution to the state’s revenue problems, but as a stand-alone option I feel that it will end up having regressive effects on our taxation system (which is already terribly regressive) only to end up giving the boys in Springfield boatloads of cash to use and abuse, after everyone already acknowledges that they have a spending problem.

    It would be akin to giving a heroin junkie the keys to the methadone clinic. Nothing good can come from this for anyone, except for those sadists of the world who enjoy watching political rot grow.

    Raise the starting point on the GRT at a higher level, like $10 mill. or so, and lower the rate hike from what Blago.’s asking for. You’d still raise a ton of revenue, would make the tax system a bit more progressive, and keep the overall negatives to business at a minimum while still forcing them to pony up.

    The problem still is that nobody in either chamber has the courage to back any substantive tax policy. Until the General Assembly can come to a consensus to have a spine behind something OTHER than fees, all we’re going to hear about is the Governor’s nonsense.


  12. - Johnny USA - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 10:12 am:

    Rich I simply do not understand why you think companies that have $1 million dollars in revenue should be paying $0 in GRT tax. Shouldn’t they have to pay their fair share too? Aren’t they using the resources the state id providing them?

    Sounds to me like a nice loop holes for law firms and doctors to cheat the tax payers. Whys should doctors and lawyers get a free ride?

    Business as usual in Illinois.


  13. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 10:16 am:

    If you want to go after small business, fine. Just publicly admit it. The governor talks exclusively about big business.

    Also, under this plan, if you gross $999,999.99 in a year, you pay no GRT. If you gross $1 million a year you pay $18,000 in GRT.


  14. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 10:19 am:

    Also, I dare you to make the case to the public that doctors are the bad guys. Go ahead. I double dare you. Ask Hillary what happens when you do that. Ask Mike Madigan, for that matter.


  15. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 10:19 am:

    Buck Naked — I don’t think the Governor is demonstrating independence, he’s demonstrating hypocrisy, just as he did when he was championing “Reform and Renewal.”

    If these big corporations are tax scofflaws, why is he soliciting campaign contributions from them?

    It’s like railing against the mob and asking Jimmy Three Fingers to give to your campaign.


  16. - It's 5 O'clock somewhere - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 10:27 am:

    I think I have it figured out: The Gov wants to shift some $$ around to better serve the needs of the state. Lease the lottery shifting the $ for education to State pensions. Replace the state portion of education funding with a tax on corporations (GRT). The GRT comes form the corporations’ profits which reduces the amount the shareholders receive. Makes perfect sense….the main shareholders are mutual funds held by many 401K plans… So the state pension plans get improved and the private sector retirement plans get hurt. The working mans governor.


  17. - steven - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 10:49 am:

    Rich -

    I think Johnny USA is pulling your chain.

    I doubt he actually is seriously in favor of the GRT. Someone is setting up a straw man.

    Where are my matches?


  18. - Niles Township - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 10:53 am:

    So because a system is broken, there is only one solution? Of course not! Rod is way over his head on this one. GRT will die on the vine. Perhaps Pat Quinn’s close the loop holes drive might take-off. It should. $2 billion is better than no billion. If we go for GRT, say goodbye to most of that $6 billion over time as businesses leave the state or never move in or get started here. By the way, I don’t own my own business, I am just a humble employee. Finally, I gotta say, I never thought I would see a Pat Quinn quote used for a big business ad. Times have changed!


  19. - Truthful James - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 10:53 am:

    Let’s publish the list of these economic giants who are paying no taxes. I am sure their SEC filings will show the same thing, so have the governor’s office put up a web site.


  20. - Bill - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 11:00 am:

    YDD,
    As you well know, the governor doesn’t solicit campaign contributions. The Boeing contributions, judging from their size, most likely came in unsolicited.It is all part of their well known political action program where they give to everybody to try to maintain their loopholes. I don’t suppose that you bothered to look at how much they gave the speaker.
    If you want to make mob references maybe you should look that way.


  21. - demgrrl - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 11:13 am:

    niles t,
    pat quinn’s loopholes commission may take off? apparently you haven’t been to the statehouse much over the last few years — where nearly every proposal to close a loophole has been shot down by the GA. not a chance in hell of that commission going anywhere.

    as for who’s funding who, at least the gov isn’t afraid to go after those who gave him money. on the other hand. the illinois chamber is gunning hard for their patrons, which are all the big biz guys that gave their org tens of thousands of dollars last year, if not more. they’re doing nothing more than fighting for the interests of big biz and the big fat bonuses that they get while their workers get cheated out of health care and retirement plans. pity the poor exec.


  22. - Bill - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 11:16 am:

    I don’t think anyone is trying to make doctors the bad guys. We all need them from time to time. Why shouldn’t they pay their fair share of taxes?


  23. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 11:17 am:

    You’re right on the edge, Bill. Go ahead, take the plunge. See what happens. :)


  24. - Bill - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 11:17 am:

    I don’t think anyone is trying to make doctors the bad guys. We all need them from time to time. Why shouldn’t they pay their fair share of taxes? I don’t think $18000 is too much tax to pay on revenue of $1 million. It is less than it costs to gas up their Escalade for a year.


  25. - Bill - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 11:19 am:

    Rich,
    No thanks! I like it right here on the edge.


  26. - Number 8 - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 11:19 am:

    I think that McQuery hits the nail on the head with this column. It is sickening that these companies should be able to provide such large salaries and lavish perks to their ceo’s and board members, yet dodge their duty to pay taxes on their revenues. Why do we acccept it when the IRS audits the little guy with a minor tax reporting error caused by honest oversight? Its time for some fairness and uniformity in our tax system.

    I support the governor’s efforts and I hope that he stands his ground on this one. This will be a big fight, but he is definately on the right side here.


  27. - Pat Hickey - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 11:24 am:

    When a Tax makes Frank ‘The Mailroom Guy’ Nervous or it might cut into the quality of Desiree Rogers’ choice in yellow Wellington’s, I am all over it! Sic ‘em, Bill - fromtheedge - stay on the edge! Milorod needs you until, it’s time to clear the bench.


  28. - Tom - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 11:37 am:

    If the GRT is such a wonderful, carefully thought out panacea why did Rod wait until after the election to propose it? The voters would have approved of it, no?

    What scares me even more than the GRT is the shallow anti-business rhetoric Rod uses to support it. If a CEO of a business in Yakima, WA who is looking to relocate to a geographically central state heard Rod’s comments he would be very wary of choosing Illinois.


  29. - Bill - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 11:42 am:

    Tom,
    He might be wary until he checked out the tax rates in neighboring states like Indiana and Wisconsin which the chamber wrongly insists compare favorably to Illinois. We are a very low tax state and even with the GRT would compare favorably with our neighboring states. Plus, we are the only state with Chicago!


  30. - RMW Stanford - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 11:50 am:

    Bill,

    You do realize that revenue is not the same thing as profit or income and that you could easily have companies bring in more than a million dollars that could be earn zero profit or losses and the cost of the GRT would just worsen those loses. If they want to make big business “pay their share” why not close up the loop holes in the state income tax? Or is it because the really reason for this tax is so that the Governor can increase spending and the size of the state government?
    I dont oppose this tax because of the Chamber of Commerce or any other business, but because I looked at it and it bad for the Illinois economy, our competitiveness in the large economy of the United States and the World, worker and the consumers.


  31. - Bill - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 12:15 pm:

    I think that the “real reason” for the tax is that it is needed to increase spending for education and health care AND to pay for the spending the state has already done. I support closing tax loopholes. Yes, I understand the difference between profits and revenue. I also understand how a business can make no “profit”, but the owners(or stockholders) can still make themselves rich while not paying for the state services that they use and consume during the course of doing business. While they make no “profits” they still have to pay their other taxes, utilities, and other costs of doing business. The GRT would be just another cost. Its low rate, broad base, and inherent fairness makes it the least painful of all the revenue enhancing plans.


  32. - Mr Wizard - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 12:25 pm:

    Fwiw, you all do yourselves a disservice by arguing the merits of GRT with “Bill”. Neither he nor Rod care if this proposal is good/bad, fair/unfair, etc. This, like their other ‘initiatives’, is another PR campaign and they could care less if it becomes law or not. VM has it right - governing is not on the agenda.


  33. - Pat Hickey - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 12:26 pm:

    That’s what I’m Talking About - Pit-Bill!


  34. - Sick Of It! - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 12:36 pm:

    The very simpe fack of this is that the guv wants raise taxes $6 BILLION in the State of Illinois. Who do you think will pay it? How much of that new money will go for pork projects to buy legislators votes? The state does need new revenue but this is way too much. I am even more disturbed that the bill doesnt seem to exost yet. Will this be another AllKids that gets shoved through the legislature in the dark of night without any details?


  35. - Bill - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 12:44 pm:

    Wiz,
    You mean our “other initiatives” like health care for children and universal pre-school for 3 and 4 year olds which have passed and are now being implemented, or maybe you mean increasing education funding over the last 4 years more than any other administration without raising sales or income taxes, or maybe you mean putting more money into pensions than any other administration and increasing the funded level of liabilities from 48% to almost 60%, or maybe you mean open road tolling. That IS governing. You probably don’t recognize it after 27 years of soemthing else.
    The list goes on. New, innovative, ground breaking proposals have been the norm for this administration. Get used to it. The best is yet to come!
    Hickey,
    I owe you a couple at Dingers.


  36. - Mr. Wizard - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 12:47 pm:

    Sick of it-

    My sources say there is a bill, but it is so embarrassing and full of holes, it is still under wraps…


  37. - vole - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 12:49 pm:

    A very sizeable and disproportionate share of the cumulative rise of incomes has occurred in the upper income sectors. That is, the wealthy have become much wealthier primarily as a result of their rises in salary while the lower and middle classes have been staying about even. Much of the large increases in salary income have occurred in the large companies which are likely to also be high profit operations. Does it not make sense to more progressively tax these higher salary earners as a means of taxing the bigger companies? And does it not make sense to start by limiting loopholes that allow large companies to escape taxes on their profits?

    The GRT will tax every company equally whether their profits are 1% or 20%. This shotgun approach is regressive and punitive to the less profitable companies and especially those who gross receipts are near the minimum borderline.

    Like the proposed national sales tax I am sure that the GRT will provide a stimulus for the black market where real gross receipts will be hidden from accountability. Or creative means of breaking up business to show they make less than the minimum of $1,000,000.


  38. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 12:55 pm:

    “Mr. Wizard” then it’s a draft, not a bill. :)


  39. - Pat Hickey - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 1:01 pm:

    Bill,

    It will needs be Keegan’s - they won’t let me in Dingers - they say I scare off the trade.


  40. - Mr. Wizard - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 1:41 pm:

    Rich, “draft” is probably too kind a word. :)


  41. - Bill - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 1:46 pm:

    I love Keegan’s! I can crawl home through the alley without embarrassing myself.


  42. - Number 8 - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 2:36 pm:

    Its people like Mr. Wizard that helped us get Blagojevich reelected. By focusing on the governor personality and his “desire to campaign rather than govern” they fail to prepare any substantive policies of their own. Personally, I would prefer that the governor be a good leader and deliverer of message, and surround himself with smart people who can act on and implement his initiatives. In this regard, Blagojevich has done an exceptional job.


  43. - 4% - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 3:12 pm:

    Comrade Bill…

    If I understand you…income tax breaks are bad. Let’s get rid of them.

    The 4 largest tax loopholes, all given to individuals and NFPs, total more than $3 billion.

    According to Dan Hynes, if we get rid of EVERY corporate income tax incentive, the state will only realize $400 million ($600 according to the Gov).

    So, let’s just get an additional $600 million (using Rod’s numbers). We don’t need $6 billion.


  44. - wake up - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 4:36 pm:

    4%…

    We don’t need $6 billion? If you want new school money to actually have a meaningful impact then nothing less than several billion dollars will make a difference. So if decisions were left to you, we’d do nothing and just maintain the status quo and allow our businesses to become less competitive in a global economy. Great idea. When no one wants to locate here in 10 or 20 years because we don’t have an educated and competitive workforce, we can thank folks like you — and the big corporate executives who can’t live without their $10 million bonuses. Wake up people and demand some change for the regular guy and business.


  45. - Truthful James - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 6:04 pm:

    wake up –

    Before you toss money at any project in any field, please determine the proposed use and what the probable outcome would be.

    And you might also look at what the results of past money tossing were, as a predictor of future performance.

    The key objective would be to increase the quality of Education — the Value, if you will.

    To do that one has to set standards and measure performance. Week by week we are finding out that the ISBE, the supposed standards enforcer has not only gamed the testing system to make it appear as if higher quality is being delivered (dumbing down the tests and norming up the results) but alo lowered the entry bar for incoming teachers in subject matter areas. Scarece improvement has been observed in spite of the fact that teachers actively teach the State exams rather than rely on the fruits of their labors.

    The Public education system is a Potemkin Village, great facades, but hovels behind.

    It is a great game played by the ISBE, the Teachers Unions, the Schools of Education and the legislature, which craves the monetary and voting support of the unions, as well as the ability of the teachers to affect the parents.

    The flim flam fools the parents. That is not so bad when compared with permitting the shoddy output which our colleges and the work force are getting.

    Look at the remediation colleges are requiring entering high school graduates to take. Those extra hours are one reason — an an expensive reason it is — it takes more than four years to get a B.A.

    Look also at the ACT people this week tightening up on the supposed Advanced Placement Classes which are supposed to enable students to obtain college credits. And look at the international rankings of our AP curriculum as opposed to that of other countries. American high schools rank in the bottom percentiles — and that is using our best teachers.

    The system is a closed loop and needs to be busted open as Steve Jobs did when he threw the hammer and busted the Microsoft monopoly making way for Apple.

    More pertinently, when we improved American car quality by having foreign manufacturers built autos here.

    We have fallen well behind the world and all you can think is that more money to build new Potemkin Villages is the only answer. Rest assured, that is all the betterment more money will get.

    Look at the roster of teachers in your District. The records will show that very few majored in the subject they teach, let alone a joint degree in a subject area and in education. Look at how few have an advanced degree in that subject area, when it is much easier to take fifteen units of education courses each summer and get an automatic raise as well as a longevity raise.

    Subject matter mastery should come first. Most Districts rely on a term called Content mastery. Content refers to the textbook being used. as in keeping one chapter ahead of the students.

    The teachers, no matter how much love they have for their pupils are underqualified. Cutting class sizes only creates a demand for more similarly underqualified union teachers. If we now employ the best, what of the rest?

    And what waste we have seen. We took a good phonics system and junked it for ‘whole words’ and now we have had to put it back. It was simpler to teach whole words. We took a good math system and junked it, replacing it with fuzzy math. Now we are junking that, thank God. What Frankenstein change will we be making next, because it is easier for the teachers?

    And we have created by our education system more than two generations of the underclass which does not believe now that Education was either an economic or a social good. They discourage their children and have not the ability present in most families to school the basics in their children before the formal school begins. We found that the advantages of Head Start can be lost over two years. Now we want to lower the education process to the three year old. There will be temporary gains, but against the backdrop of the parents described above and the street environment much will be lost once more.

    Yor $10 Million rant rings hollow. The few in the headlines (like those in the rape stories) do not reflect the population as a whole. Anybody who starts and runs a business wants competency in their employess and is willing to train to get it. The schools have failed here too.

    Are parents getting value for their money. To judge by the demand for charter schools and vouchers the answer is a resounding no. If that does not tell you that something is rotten in the education system, nothing will.

    To solve the problem, do not build higher sides on the boc to hold more money. Rather, open the box to competition from charter schools and even from other qualified private schools by using vouchers.

    Everytime we argargue about money, every year we do a Augenblick and Myers does a regression analysis to show that $X will bring our students up to snuff is a year we have lost, Ask, A&M, the EFAB and the ISBE if the analysis uses teacher qualification as a variable or set of variables. I think you know what the answer will be.


  46. - So Blue Democrat - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 8:12 pm:

    If the Governor’s tax proposal is so wonderful, why didn’t he discuss it in the campaign? Where is his political courage? Obviously JFK would not have written a chapter on the Governor.


  47. - steve schnorf - Thursday, Mar 29, 07 @ 9:34 pm:

    I think the Governor made a wise decision by asking for a lot of new revenue. One, it will get whittled down, and two, the people who are angry would be no less vociferous and nasty if it was $3 billion.


  48. - Anon - Friday, Mar 30, 07 @ 7:26 am:

    It’s truly scary that we have folks like Bill and others who have no clue about the struggles of small businesses trying to put them out of business with their support of Rod’s confiscatory tax policies. Obviously they have never been in business before.


  49. - Truth is....... - Friday, Mar 30, 07 @ 9:06 am:

    Bill is the Propaganda Minister for State of Illinois, employed by the state.


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