Recreating Cal Skinner

I can hardly believe that George Ranney, one of the Regional Transportation Authority’s original promoters, is advocating the same RTA gas tax that was included in the original legislation.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” as George Santayana put in 1905.

So, go ahead.

Re-enact the RTA gas tax.

Make it 5%.

Apply it to the state and federal Motor Fuel Tax portion of the price of gasoline, too.

15 cents or more a gallon.

And, why not suggest the repealed parking tax, too?

You will create another suburban Cal Skinner.

I hope he or she has as much fun killing a new RTA Gas Tax as I did the original one.

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After I wrote this article I remembered that Ranney was the designated spokesman for the RTA Citizens Committee for Better Transportation in the last radio program on the subject. It occurred the Friday before the RTA referendum was barely (and maybe–no recount allowed in an entirely paper ballot and less than a 13,000 vote margin with obvious fraud) passed. We were at a little FM station in some older Chicago high rise. By then I had my sound bites down pat.

As we reached the elevator after the recording, Ranney said, “If we had known we wolud have so much trouble in McHenry County, we would have left you out.”

My response: “Now you tell me!”

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And, yes, this picture of me shows what the House Chambers looked like in the late 1970’s. Huge stacks of bills, if you wanted to have a chance of being able to figure out what was going on beyond the Legislative Digest. And some of us were a lot thinner.

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