April 1 brings all sorts of surprises.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has called a press conference to announce he supports letting the temporary income tax hike expire in 2015 as scheduled. A Quinn insider said the governor realized he can better help Illinois by making the state more attractive to business rather than adding a permanent tax: "Quinn decided that our state's troubles are temporary, and the 66 percent tax increase should be, too."
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon also has called a press conference to announce that the Show-Me State soon will send Illinois a check to cover its fair share of construction of the Stan Span: "What were we thinking when we refused to do that before? We want to show that we consider Illinois an equal partner in this important project."
Meanwhile, St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern is expected to unveil his plan to sell MidAmerica Airport to the Air Force for $1. "MidAmerica has become an unacceptable drain on county taxpayers. Things worked out spectacularly when Belleville sold its white elephant, the old Belleville West campus, to Lindenwood University for $1. We hope this sale will also lead to better things," Kern said in a written release. He promised to answer all questions at a public forum later in the week.
Belleville Mark Eckert, not to be upstaged, plans to announce that the city will discontinue its use of tax increment financing effective immediately: "TIFs haven't helped the region grow, they just allow developers to profit by pitting communities against each other. I will lead a statewide effort to find a better way."
Former Madison County treasurer Fred Bathon announced from prison that he and several unidentified county officeholders will pay restitution to the homeowners scammed by his rigged tax sales: "I feel terrible, and not just because I got caught. The other officials have agreed to chip in because they either knew or should have known what was happening but didn't stop me."
Finally, Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton said he tore up the paperwork for the just approved sales tax increase so the city can give it proper consideration. "When Alderman Keith Short said at the meeting last week that the issue was brought to the council in 'a shockingly short' period, it dawned on me that one week really wasn't enough time for public input. Our residents and business owners deserve more respect than that."
There is only one thing left to say: April fool.