May 8, 2008: An Update from the Institute
In case you missed it, the Ilinois Policy Institute was featured in an op-ed by Collin Hitt in the Rockford Register Star
on May 2.
Meanwhile, on April 29, Greg Blankenship and Nicole Kurokawa authored an op-ed on state spending and transparency in the State Journal-Register. You can read it here
Springfield Tax Follies
By Greg Blankenship, President
Well, so far so good.
So far this legislative session, that is, every attempt at hiking taxes has been beaten down.
First, there was SB2288--another version of the infamous income tax/property tax swap. In the early, easy days of Senator Barack Obama's cruise down the road to his party's presidential nomination, it was a very exciting time for the tax swap's--or, more correctly stated, the tax sham's--proponents. After all, with then-Saint Obama at the top of the ticket, there would be no way voters would punish the Democrats come this fall for hiking taxes, right?
Alas, as reality has touched the presidential campaign of the junior senator from Illinois, leaving it with the tarnish of rough and tumble politics--not to mention the tarnish of Reverend Wrong, er, Wright, from Chicago--the air of unaccountability has diminished at the statehouse quite a bit. Proposals to double the state income tax on high earners and a Constitutional Amendment to allow such a thing went nowhere fast.
Despite six years of Democratic control of state government, amazingly, we haven't seen a major sales or income tax increase in the state. That should be seen as a major vindication to those willing to stand up and fight against these tax increases. Because, believe me, it is not as if our politicians haven't been trying.
As we move into the month of May, serious talks about the budget will begin. With revenues beginning to drop off, we could see one more attempt to hike taxes as part of that process. Who knows, with Obama seemingly more secure in the nomination, Springfield could become all giddy with unaccountability again!
We must be even more vigilant during this time, because things have a way of sneaking in at the last moment down in Springfield. Then again, given the current animosity amongst the Democratic leadership, that last moment could once again be a long . . . long . . . loooonnnggg way off.
We'll be keeping our eyes and ears open to keep you posted on the latest.
The Real November Debate
By John Tillman, Chairman and CEO
It looks like the fall presidential race is finally beginning to take shape. While Hillary will continue to persist, the numbers and the sentiment continue to stack against her own, very audacious hope for the White House. For Senator Obama, meanwhile, it helps to have a friendly press corps to minimize the impact of events that would likely have taken down other, less-favored candidates.
Attention will now begin to shift to Obama versus McCain, but that's not the real battle--nor is it the real choice. Obama and McCain are surrogates for a bigger choice, one that has been going on for many, many decades. Only rarely, however, does an election create a truly meaningful demarcation point from which two distinct roads can be taken.
One road, the one Senator Obama is leading us to, is the government-centric road. If we choose that road, every problem, every societal ill, every challenge we face will have a government solution. Each and every solution will require more and more government regulation, more government agencies, more bureaucrats, and more and more tax dollars. Whether it is energy, health care or CEO pay, there is no problem too big (nor too small) that a good government program cannot fix.
I probably don't need to tell you how ludicrous this is. Let's just look at health care. The best proxy for government-run health care in the U.S. is the Veterans Administration and its health care system. It is a colossal failure, wasting money, often hurting our most treasured citizens who risked their lives for . . . well, for liberty.
The other road is the liberty road. Now, many people think that John McCain is not the best driver to take us down this road. He steers the car a bit too much into the left lane where there are more potholes and sometimes even into oncoming traffic. But, the fact is that he is the only driver we currently have, and while he steers badly on occasion, his overall direction is to take us down the liberty road--a far, far better road to travel than the government one.
McCain will extend the Bush tax cuts, he will advocate for school choice, he believes in nuclear energy as a key alternative to fossil fuels for greater energy independence, and he is a spending hawk (a rare bird indeed, given that the lack thereof was the real root of recent GOP electoral losses). Most importantly, he will nominate more Roberts and Alitos rather than Stevens, Breyers or Ginsburgs. That matters--a lot.
What should this mean to you? Two things. First, remember, this is not McCain versus Obama. This is, imperfect as it may be, government versus liberty.
Second, those who love liberty need to stop backseat driving and put some gas in the tank so we can move on down that liberty road.
Questions? Comments? Want to get involved? Please contact John Tillman at firstname.lastname@example.org.