Because of tax cuts in 2001, Congress slashed federal funding earmarked for states. Those states’ needs didn’t disappear; the costs just trickled-down. Then when states ran short of money, they raised taxes, cut services or pushed the burden onto localities and school districts.
Few could absorb these costs; cities didn’t get breaks like giant corporations and billionaires. So services got cut and tax rates increased. The cities and school boards today get portrayed as the bad guys for cutting services and raising taxes. But it’s because the tax burden migrated from the rich and corporate onto working families.
Federal tax cuts for the rich have worsened fiscal problems everywhere. Billionaire Gov. Bruce Rauner was a huge personal beneficiary of those cuts and loopholes. Now his remedies for Illinois include cuts no reasonable person should support. Essential and underfunded programs, including mental and public health agencies, foster care and hospice, would be slashed.
Schools and universities also would be hard-hit. And hundreds of millions of dollars would be withheld from municipalities - the poorer the town, the bigger the hit.
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Gov. Austerity yammers about pensions, insurance and unions with his conservative/ALEC boilerplate babble. Tax cuts for big business and billionaires, but nothing for the middle class.
The false religion of austerity is a destructive lie. It sucks the life out of every level of government and drives people from middle class to poverty while making the rich even richer. Austerity doesn’t save most taxpayers a dime. It unconscionably pushes the burden onto our cities, towns and school districts. Where does this madness stop?
Kevin J. Gagen