ONE OF the earliest stories that I remember my first grade teacher reading to us was about the woman who had a hole in her garment. She didn’t have any material to repair the hole, so she used scissors and cut out the hole! Of course, it was replaced by a bigger hole, but the original hole had disappeared.
I THOUGHT about that woman’s garment repair strategy as I was looking over the proposed budget that Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker unveiled last week, which included borrowing more money and over a billion dollars in new taxes! Illinois is so far down into a financial hole that, apparently, the only way to get out is to dig a deeper hole! Our state’s downward financial spiral didn’t happen overnight. It’s the result of years of bad decisions because of an addiction to spending taxpayers’ money.
FORMER Governor Bruce Rauner, a Republican, tried to put a stop to some of the spending and failed. Now there’s a Democrat in the governor’s chair and, instead of cutting spending, digging on the hole to make it deeper, continues. I’m usually a pretty optimistic guy on most things, but when it comes to solving the state’s financial problems, the hole that’s been dug is only going to get deeper because the spending and borrowing continue with the only solution in play is to tax more and spend more — with the result that many businesses and citizens are already leaving the state.
I CERTAINLY don’t have anything against our new governor. He seems to be a nice guy who is excited about moving the state ahead in a positive way. However, that budget proposal last week calls for more digging in the deep, deep financial hole in order to eliminate the smaller hole, plus probably putting Illinois on the lowest rung of the investment ladder — junk bond status — which will cost the state even more! It’s the “hole in the garment” approach I learned about in first grade. Several groups were pleased with the governor’s proposals because it meant they would get more money — even if it is digging an deeper hole for the state’s finances.
GOVERNOR Pritzker’s proposed budget includes $170 million in new tax revenue from recreational marijuana (even though it has not been legalized), a new tax of $212 million from sports wagering, $89 million progressive tax structure on video gambling and an increase of $55 million from boosting the cigarette tax, while taxing e-cigarettes at 35% or $10 million in new tax revenue. Wow! State government is moving in a direction that looks the other way regarding what was once considered harmful conduct to people and their families, with the political philosophy of “they’re going to do it anyway so we might as well legalize it” and, of course, TAX IT! I’m surprised that legalized prostitution is not on the table — at least not yet!
I BELIEVE some work should be done on the severity of the sentences for people using recreational marijuana, but legalizing it, when there are so many negative issues for those who use it, comes strictly from government greed. How can any straight-thinking legislator vote in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana?
WE RECENTLY witnessed the minimum wage law passed by the Illinois House along party lines — and it is without a doubt the most anti-jobs legislation coming out of Springfield in a long, long time. I hear shovels digging the hole deeper on that vote! Why is the solution to our state’s fiscal hole never “we need to stop digging”? It’s just so much easier to legalize something else and add a tax to it — and then spend four dollars dealing with the addiction results for every dollar collected. I learned in grade school that cutting a hole out of a garment to fix it only results in a bigger hole and, as even bigger holes follow, the garment disappears. That’s our state government today.
PRESIDENT Ronald Reagan had it right: “Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem…. Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them. Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it. … The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much.”
Remember the adage: “If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging”. That’s still good advice — for people and for governments.
–Reprinted from “Viewpoint” column in Feb. 27th print edition of the Decatur Tribune.