Common Sense Thrown Under the Bus
I guess you can ignore my last post. Leave it to the Governor to get me back to blogging before I can even leave for home. No sooner had I sent an e-mail out to thousands of my constituents telling them that the bill had passed and the only thing standing in the way of it becoming law was the Governor, that very same Governor decides to amendatorily veto the bill.
In what can only be described as a bizarre misdirection to get around his vaunted, but unwarranted, no-tax pledge, the Governor issued a statement that, while he is willing to break his pledge, he is going to change the bill in order to allow senior citizens to ride public transportation in Illinois for free.
In his statement, the Governor said "I'm particularly concerned about seniors who live on fixed incomes and who don't have the ability to absorb a higher sales tax without making cuts in other areas. That's why I will rewrite the bill to allow all senior citizens in Illinois to take public transportation for free."
Where should I even start with the outrageousness of this latest action? Let's try these:
1. The bill is the product of unprecedented negotiations and compromise by elected officials, transit leaders, union leaders, pretty much everybody but the Governor. His action, once again, tries to supplant his unilateral will over the greater good, not to mention common sense.
2. A .25% sales tax increase amounts to a penny on a $4 purchase. A quarter on a $100 purchase. This is a reasonable price to pay for the benefits of a good mass transit system, benefits realized by riders and non-riders alike .
3. The seniors on fixed income who the Governor is so concerned about get absolutely NO benefit from the Governor's action if they are not mass transit users.
4. The tax is only imposed on consumers in the RTA service area. What's the basis for providing free rides to seniors on downstate mass transit since they aren't impacted by the sales tax increase? This measure also cuts into the revenues of these transit systems at a time when we passed a bill trying to give them more funding, not less.
Lastly, by virtue of his actions, the bill which passed the House with a slim margin of 62 votes, now has to go back for reconsideration, thus risking it again being held hostage by the capital bill/gaming bill proponents.
I could keep going, but I really want to get on the road. File today under the category of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.