* Bernie interviewed Chris Kennedy the other day…
In a visit Friday to Springfield, Kenilworth resident Kennedy — son of the late ROBERT F. KENNEDY — told me that his family has always been Democratic but has taken on the party when needed.
His uncle, President JOHN F. KENNEDY, had to fight fellow Democrats who didn’t want a Catholic elected president in order to win that office in 1960, he said. His father in 1968 ran to take over from the Democratic administration of President LYNDON JOHNSON because RFK didn’t want more “young Americans” sent to Vietnam. And his uncle, the late Sen. TED KENNEDY, ran against President JIMMY CARTER because he thought Carter “sided with the big banks” against people hurting from high interest rates.
“I don’t think the system that we have in Illinois is representative of the values of the Democratic Party, and if I have to speak out against it, I will,” he said.
Sen. Kennedy ran against President Carter because of the banks? Learn something new every day, I guess.
* Anyway, while Kennedy proudly pointed to his ancestors’ fights against the Democratic machine, he told a woe-is-me story at a Saturday candidates’ forum…
In the Democratic Party all the money really flows at the behest of the Speaker of the House and if you cross swords with him that flow of money will be cut off.
If you look at how I’ll react to that, well you can see, you can see from the history of the primary, what’s happened during this election. I spoke truth to power, I said what Mike Madigan is doing is not illegal but it should be. And that money was cut off. I was threatened by him, I was told not to speak out against him by people associated with the party. And I said ‘No, I’m gonna speak the truth, what’s happening with the property tax racket is destroying our schools, dooming the next generation to a life of economic servitude.’
I spoke out against Rahm Emanuel and what’s happening in the City of Chicago, and my donors dropped.
Tracker video clip is here.
* Meanwhile, last Friday we discussed Bob Daiber’s call to tax retirement income and Sen. Daniel Biss’ assertion that he’d be open to the tax idea under a progressive tax structure. JB Pritzker opposes the tax, but Chris Kennedy’s campaign didn’t respond.
* Well, WMAY’s Jim Leach had Kennedy on his show later that day…
JIM LEACH: Another issue that’s just arisen in the last couple of days, and we’re going to be talking a lot about taxes at every level, from progressive income tax to the sales taxes I know you’ve talked about in recent days. There’s also a proposal out now to tax retirement income in the State of Illinois. Bob Daiber’s put this forward, Daniel Biss has said it might work in the context of a graduated income tax. Your thoughts on whether Illinois should tax retirement income?
KENNEDY: I mean, in a flat tax environment I, absolutely, I don’t think we should do that. I think the average retiree, pensioner in Illinois makes, I don’t know, under $20,000 a year. Do I think that’s how we should pay for our government? By taxing people who make less than $20,000 a year? Absolutely not.
LEACH: If we move to a graduated income tax at some point would that be on the table then? Retirement income?
KENNEDY: I mean, I don’t know what that looks like. I mean, if ifs and buts were candy and nuts we’d all have a merry Christmas, so I don’t know, what…
LEACH: But you want to move to a progressive income tax?
KENNEDY: Absolutely, absolutely.
LEACH: If we do that, under your plan…
KENNEDY: If we means tested, if we means tested, um, retirement income. If you could say OK, people who have more than $250,000 a year household income and have retirement income, could that be part of progressive income tax? I think it could.
Clip is here.
* Hinz: What Kennedy got right about Cook County property taxes: When I’ve talked to Berrios’ staff about this, they’ve said sales often are a lousy basis for a valuation. Instead the primary factor Berrios uses is building income, a somewhat more subjective standard in my view, but one that Berrios says the courts insist upon. Problem is, some tax experts say Berrios is wrong. The preferred factor set by courts in the key cases is the last sales price, not income stream, according to Civic Federation President Laurence Msall, whose group specializes in property taxation. Local officials have the discretion to use other factors, but only if there’s a problem with the sales data, such as no recent sales, he adds. I get a similar story from Berrios predecessor Jim Houlihan, who has endorsed Kennedy but who I’ve always found to be an honorable man. Assessors use three factors: replacement costs, income and sales, he says. And, he says, it’s “b.s.” to insist, as Berrios does, that sales data ought not usually play a major role.