Suburban Legislators Prepare to Sell Out Their Constituents

The man playing the role of Paul Revere in this year’s RTA/CTA suburban money grab has been the Daily Herald’s Eric Krol.

Friday, he repeated a call made in late May.

The first sentence doesn’t say that the sales tax would be doubled in the collar counties. But Krol does name some of the suburbanites who are selling out their constituents.

Two from Lake/northern Cook County–a Republican and a Democrat–are actually co-sponsors:

  • Democratic Rep. Kathy Ryg of Vernon Hills and
  • Republican Rep. Sid Mathias of Buffalo Grove.

He adds,

And, only four suburban House members voted against the Ryg-Mathias tax increase:

  • Reps. Patti Bellock of Downers Grove,
  • Dennis Reboletti of Elmhurst,
  • Michael Tryon of Crystal Lake and
  • Jim Durkin of Westchester.

“Congressman Mark Kirk of Highland Park recently held a hearing and blasted the RTA proposal as a suburban bailout for Chicago. Democratic Sen. Michael Bond of Grayslake joined Republican Kirk,” the Daily Herald article continues.

Kirks district overlaps Mathais’.

According to Krol, suburban Democratic Party State Representative Bond echoed what suburban Democrats said during the 1974 RTA referendum campaign:

“I will not support any legislation that bails out the CTA at the expense of suburban taxpayers.”

And,

only four suburban House members voted against the Ryg-Mathias tax increase (in committee):

  • Reps. Patti Bellock of Downers Grove,
  • Dennis Reboletti of Elmhurst,
  • Michael Tryon of Crystal Lake and
  • Jim Durkin of Westchester.

So, why would a rational suburban legislator oppose this tax hike proposal?

Krol lets Democrat Bond summarize the case:

the suburbs would be paying $220 million more in sales tax. The city of Chicago would pay an additional $100.5 million in sales and real estate transfer taxes.

But of the $322.5 million collected, the CTA would get $193.5 million, Metra $96.75 million and Pace $32.25 million, according to the analysis. The CTA gets 60 percent of the booty, but city folks are paying only about a third of the new taxes.

Let me repeat the cost-benefit analysis:

The CTA gets 60% of the money and pays 1/3 of the tax hike.

Put from a suburban viewpoint, the suburbs pay 67% of the money, while getting 40% back.

A suburbanite who votes for a deal like that is mathematically, not to mention politically impaired.

Finally, why have Republican suburban state legislators allowed Democrats to take the lead in opposing this rip-off?

Yet another reason a Republican come back will be more difficult than it should be.


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