Did you see the front page of last Wednesday’s Daily Journal? It was a photo of Illinois Gov. Big Jay Robert Pritzker, State Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst and Kankakee Community College President Michael Boyd, all hobnobbing in the “VIP tent.”
The smiling Pritzker is pointing a meaty finger at Mr. Boyd, and Rep. Parkhurst looks on impassively, undoubtedly realizing what most of her constituents think of her mingling with the toilet-removing governor.
The headline blares, “Governor visits Chicago Bears camp.” (Full disclosure, as a Packer backer, I’ve never been to Bears camp so I didn’t know they had a VIP tent.) The column was written by Journal reporter David Giuliani. No word yet if he requested this gig or drew the short straw.
Giuliani’s reporting, as usual, was straightforward. Frankly, the article was somewhat lacking for a front-page news story. Had I been editor, I might have buried it just after the obituaries as a smaller article and picture, saving Rep. Parkhurst some humiliation. Giuliani did mention Pritz is a billionaire. ($3.4 billion, the wealthiest governor in American history.) Why would a man with that kind of money spend $171.5 million of his own money for a governorship?
Given that 53 percent of Kankakee County, along with 75 percent of Iroquois County, mostly Bear fans, voted for someone not named Pritzker, I was surprised Giuliani didn’t take this opportunity to pester Pritz about what has been bestowed upon beleaguered Illinois folks in just a year of governorship.
Already, Pritz pushed through $1 billion of EXTRA spending of money we ain’t got. We’re $215 billion in debt and own a debt ratio of 269 percent. We rank 50th (bottom) of all states for fiscal responsibility. Pritz actually was proud of this accomplishment as it was within a “budget,” unlike his predecessor he chirped, Bruce Rauner, who refused to spend money we didn’t have.
Pritz is pushing to amend the Illinois Constitution (who knew we had one — I thought we just did whatever Mike Madigan decreed) to change tax structure. He intends to tax higher income earners, those more than $250,000 per year. Those are the same higher income earners now leaving the state in droves, much to the delight of the surrounding states and U-Haul. Once the law has passed and the higher earners are all gone, the $250,000 threshold will drop faster than Joe Biden’s poll numbers. Pritzker claims this will bring in an additional $3.5 billion. Wanna bet?
Gas taxes are up 19 cents already, diesel users 24.5 cents (just because), auto registrations, titles, motor homes and industrial vehicle registrations are all up substantially. I would have questioned Pritz how he thought Illinoisans feel about their new extra cash outlay to drive on pothole-ridden roads and unsafe bridges in counties that didn’t vote for him. Or paying taxes on vehicles they are trading before paying taxes on the new vehicles they are buying — another new tax. To some, these are hefty added expenses, but pocket change to Pritz.
Or, I might have quizzed Pritz why he ripped apart the last few restrictions of the abortion laws for an “anything goes approach.” Conservatives now are an even more unwillingly party to one of the most progressive abortion states in the country. Understand, many of us find baby-killing repulsive.
Furthermore, compliments of Pritz, everyone will be able to legally gamble and smoke pot in Illinois, despite the fact those who do participate most heavily are likely the very people who can least afford it. The marijuana laws are going to cause nightmares to businesses navigating citizen rights with litigation over product/service integrity.
I might have included instructions on how to operate the kiosks we will have at fast food restaurants as the new $15 per hour minimum wage laws kick in. Or all those green energy reforms Pritzker has up his French-cuffed sleeve in upcoming years. These projects will add further to the tax burden by wasting more money we don’t have, just as Barack Obama proved with the $780 million loss to Solyndra. (Only one of 34 bankruptcies.)
More details on Pritzker’s capital spending plan might have been nice to know while he was here. The plan calls for $45 billion in infrastructure spending. So, let’s see if I understand this — we’re supposed to trust Madigan and his minions to equitably spread about $45 billion of our hard-earned money? I’d trust gas station sushi first.
I might have suggested Pritzker’s promise to give the $3.5 billion allocated for schools to trade schools and junior colleges, too, rather than to the universities with large endowments and overpaid administrators.
But, I’m from Chebanse, what do I know?