When State Senator Pam Althoff’s Telephone Town Hall Meeting contacted me after her five hour session (with committee meetings in the morning), I decided to listen in.
Some notes I took follow.
A man from Woodstock with a $10,000 property tax bill said, “Taxes are out of control for Dorr Township. I can’t afford to retire in my home. As soon as I can, I’m moving out of this state.”
[I would point out that Woodstock School District 200 took every dime it could and that was most of the local tax increase.]
Althoff took two polls, the first about the Democrats 67% income tax hike. She said she would announce the results during the hour and did.
- 71% said cut spending and the tax hike
- 21% favored leaving the tax hike in place but not allowing government to grow
- 2% wanted government to continue to increase in size
- 6% were undecided
At least two people talked about government employee pensions.
Althoff said that something would have to be done or 15-20 years from now “people will get a pink slip.”
I’m not sure one can get fired from a pension program, but her point was that the five public pension funds would eventually run out of money.
When asked where she stood on the union-backed pension plan (the one State Senate President John Cullerton is sponsoring), she said, “I supported both of the pieces of (pension) legislation.”
Another person pointed to the 3% annual pension increases, which are compounded, in public pensions as a big problem. He said that nobody in the private sector gets anything like that.
Althoff agreed and pointed out that the compounding was more than 50% of the problem.
A poll was taken on what Althoff characterized as “conceal and carry.”
Althoff said she was in support of such legislation.
The results were
- 47% support
- 29% do not support in any form
- 26% support with exemptions
- 4% were undecided
A nurse called to ask if the state’s assuming administration of Obamacare would result in something like the pension crisis down the road.
Althoff did not try to dissuade her of that possibility.
A man called about fracking. He was worried about his well water.
He apparently thinks it will occur in McHenry County.
Althoff said she was undecided but did not tell him natural gas and oil has not be found under McHenry County’s acreage.
A man from a small town without zoning whom Althoff recognized as someone she had talked to before talked about windmill regulation in places like his. Althoff just passed a bill to give them some control within their village limits, but with no power outside those limits. Municipalities with zoning have some power within a mile and a half of their boundaries.
When the hour was up Althoff invited people to leave messages on her answering machine.