Editorials

Declare yourself Illinois’ 6,969th government, start telling your employer how much to pay

Taxes to feds, taxes to state, taxes to 6,968 local governments layered with sales, property and income taxes atop fees. You’re forced to live within your means, unless you can tax someone.
Taxes to feds, taxes to state, taxes to 6,968 local governments layered with sales, property and income taxes atop fees. You’re forced to live within your means, unless you can tax someone. Provided

Belleville and Swansea ask for more property taxes for pensions. Belleville wants a 1 cent sales tax for the Shop Land strip mall and another for 4204’s shopping center. Belleville schools are asking for 4.24 percent more in property taxes. All schools will ask for a 1 percent sales tax on April 4 for construction and debt. St. Clair County on the same ballot will ask for another 1 percent sales tax for public safety. O’Fallon bumps the hotel tax by 4 percentage points. Illinois will surely hike state income taxes if leaders can ever agree they need a state budget. The feds will do something to the income tax system, but Vegas won’t give odds on whether yours will go up versus down.

The trouble with living in the Land of Governments, is that 6,968 sets of leaders just see their little piece of the puzzle. You get to assemble it all and it creates a picture of your wallet screaming.

When St. Clair County Sheriff’s Deputy Sean McPeak speaks of the needs of law enforcement, those are real needs. When he says a proposed 1 percent sales tax for law enforcement will not subsidize MidAmerica St. Louis Airport, well that may be technically true.

But it’s not the truth.

The airport needed a $6.5 million injection in 2015 from St. Clair County, bringing the total since 2002 to $81 million. Because the county spent that money on the airport, it did not have enough money for public safety. Public safety needs a sales tax to be viable, so the sales tax will subsidize the airport.

Government leaders like to keep their taxes conveniently segregated. They don’t get the fact that those paying the taxes are handing over a pile of cash and could care less whether government asked that it be pulled from the right pocket or the left pocket or the billfold or the couch cushions.

Imagine what would happen if you adopted that model: You would compile expenses for all your wants and needs, hand your employer the bill and say that’s what you should be paid.

Good luck with that.

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