The financing speaker from the District 200 school board special meeting on Oct. 30 gave a breakdown of how it’s plausible that we would (only) see a tax increase of $150/year on an average-ish home. I’ve heard this cost trivialized by some as a handful of Lou Malnati pizza dinners each year.
We can argue about how realistic those numbers are, but for those who are a bit disconnected from what it’s like to struggle to pay for things, I wanted to offer a more realistic context:
For those struggling to pay their cellphone bill each month, that’s about three months of cellphone usage with a rather decent plan.
For those agonizing over food costs, that’s about 30 large pizzas from Little Caesar’s. Dinner for a month!
For those who wish they had the ability to give their child a wonderful prom experience but just don’t have the cash, that’s a very nice tux rental or dress purchase, plus a corsage or boutonniere. Instead, for embarrassment or despair, they may choose to not go.
For those who agonize over gas prices and have to be strategic about when and where they fill up their car, that’s about 50 gallons of gas
For those who wish they could see their college kid for the holidays but can’t muster the free cash to fly them home, that’s the bulk of a two-way airfare on a weekday in the U.S.
For those who wish they could buy a new toy for each of their kids for Christmas, but find themselves gifting items from Goodwill instead, that money was an opportunity to give them something new for once.
I’m tired of the attitude that everyone in Oak Park is wealthy. We’re not. I’m tired of the belief that a $400,000 home means the owner must be able to foot any and all expenses for the wants of some. People lose or change jobs. People purchase homes they probably couldn’t afford to begin with. People get hurt or sick and find themselves with unexpected expenses. These people suffer daily. They often suffer silently. They are everywhere, including Oak Park. I’m fortunate in my circumstances now, but I have at some point matched every bullet point above.
It pains me to know that others are in those circumstances now. It angers me that so many choose not to care. Please don’t add unnecessarily to the hardships of others.