* The Daily Herald editorializes in favor of mostly cosmetic budget cuts…
Start with furlough days. Cut or trim former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s expansion of health-care coverage for families with six-figure incomes. End free mass transit for wealthy senior citizens. Look at raising the income qualifiers that give some senior citizens “circuit breaker” tax cuts.
Look at eliminating or combining some state agencies, like the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity which was omitted in a different form once before.
Like many suburbs have, scale back or close the state fair until we pay our debts. Edgar did that too.
While feel-good, none of these will truly amount to a hill of beans. And I’m pretty sure that Quinn will make cuts along these lines - relatively small things that will get big media coverage and positive editorials.
The editorial is entitled: “Show us you’ll make tough cuts first,” but it demonstrates how difficult it really is to actually cut our way out of this mess.
“End free mass transit for wealthy senior citizens”? So, transit agencies will have to check everyone’s IRS returns?
“Cut or trim former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s expansion of health-care coverage for families with six-figure incomes”? That’s about ten bucks.
And isn’t it a little silly to argue for tiny cuts like this in order to justify huge tax hikes?
* And what happens when small cuts are made? Furor…
It never made sense for Illinois to close seven state parks, but then there were many things Rod Blagojevich did that never made sense.
Gov. Pat Quinn fulfilled a promise and undid one of his predecessor’s mistakes today when he reopened Castle Rock, Lowden and five other state parks.
I didn’t agree with the park closures, either, but they were exactly the sort of “tough” cuts that the DH is arguing for.
This isn’t gonna be easy at all because logic gets tossed right out the window.
*** UPDATE *** Another case in point…
So you think your property taxes are too high and want to appeal? Doing so will cost you at least 25 bucks if a state agency that handles appeals gets its way.
In a formal legal notice filed Friday, the state Property Tax Appeals Board, known as PTAB, said it intends to begin charging from $25 for fairly small appeals filed by homeowners to as much as $450 for multi-million-dollar cases filed by factory and office-tower owners. […]
[PTAB Executive Director Louis Apostol said] the agency’s budget is half of what it was in 2003, when Cook County Assessor James Houlihan engineered a roughly 50% cut in the agency’s budget in an attempt to limit its jurisdiction to areas of the state outside of Cook County. […]
But Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, a Chicago watchdog and tax-policy group, said PTAB needs to specifically spell out what property owners will get for their money and even then could face his opposition.
“PTAB is known as the ‘poor-person’s court’,” Mr. Msall said. “This has the potential to restrict access to PTAB.”
People are really gonna hate that move, but where the heck else is the money going to come from after PTAB’s budget was slashed?
* Lawmakers move to launch hospital assessment program
* Quinn turns thumbs down on gas tax hike idea
* Quinn hopes to reopen Dana-Thomas House
* With parks reopened, Gov. Quinn wants to do same with historic sites
* Quinn opens parks, fixes boneheaded Blagojevich decision
* Petition-drive leaders help reopen park after Quinn’s announcement
* Illinois reopens 7 state parks
* Gov to reopen 7 state parks including Lowden