Editorials

No poll required to figure out thoughts on Springfield

Polls show Illinoisans don’t want higher taxes. Duh!
Polls show Illinoisans don’t want higher taxes. Duh! Illustration

What’s the solution if you don’t trust the results of a poll? How about another poll?

Illinois voters were surveyed about whether they supported the state balancing its budget strictly by cutting — no new taxes. More than half said yes, according to the poll by the Illinois Policy Institute.

Well, of course people don’t want to be taxed more. Critics said the poll failed to measure voters’ tolerance for the pain those cuts would impose.

So the group did another poll.

About two-thirds of those polled supported government consolidation, a permanent property-tax freeze, making universities and schools responsible for their own pension costs and a 401(k)-style pension system for all new state workers and allowing current state workers to choose that system. Slim majorities, but fewer than half because of the undecideds, supported strengthening local governments’ abilities to negotiate with their unions and to set their own labor rates on infrastructure projects. The same was true for letting the state cut local shares of state income taxes, as well as letting Gov. Bruce Rauner impose his last, best offer to the state’s biggest labor union.

Well, of course regular folks agree with all those changes. They are common sense.

But those in the Springfield bubble believe whatever is best for the 35,000 state workers in AFSCME, including the 37.5-hour work week, is best for their campaign coffers. They think they should set labor rates rather than the local market. They think schools and state colleges should be able to jack up the final years of teacher and administrator salaries to boost pensions because the state must make the contributions. They think more government is better government in this land of 6,968 taxing bodies.

They never met a new tax they didn’t like or a tax dollar they would pass along without threat of force.

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